WASHINGTON, July 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A broad spectrum of criminal justice and public policy leaders?including lawmakers, program providers, advocates, researchers, formerly incarcerated people, and victims of crime?today launched a national organization dedicated to improving criminal justice and public safety in America.
The Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ) is a nonpartisan membership organization and think tank created to advance understanding of the criminal justice policy challenges facing the nation and build consensus for solutions based on facts, evidence, and fundamental principles of justice.
CCJ's advisory Board of Trustees is co-chaired by former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and Mark Holden of Koch Industries. It also includes U.S. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, former California Gov. Jerry Brown, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Florida State Sen. Jeff Brandes, and Van Jones of CNN.
"For the first time, Americans of nearly every political and demographic perspective want changes in the criminal justice system," said Yates. "Thanks to a growing community of talented people and organizations, important reforms have been enacted. But we have only scratched the surface of what needs to be done, and what can be done. CCJ will advance this historic momentum by building consensus around solutions that policymakers and the public can count on to deliver greater safety and justice."
"I believe CCJ is just the right organization at just the right time for the criminal justice field," said Holden. "This country now has an abundance of talented, dedicated people and organizations pushing for reform, which is great. But we need a uniting force to guide and accelerate progress, and CCJ is perfectly designed and equipped to play that role."
Adam Gelb, a veteran criminal justice policy expert, is the organization's founding President and CEO. Former U.S. Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson, who twice led the Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs, is chair of CCJ's governing Board of Directors.
"The Council connects a diverse group of top doers and thinkers who believe that fair and effective criminal justice is essential to our nation's well-being," Robinson said. "With their broad range of expertise, our members will create timely and compelling policy roadmaps and use their clout and credibility to turn those proposals into action."
A core function of CCJ is to establish member task forces that articulate model policies and strategic priorities for the criminal justice field. The first task force, chaired by former Georgia Gov. and Congressman Nathan Deal, is developing a policy agenda for the federal government and will issue its report this fall. Future research and analysis will span a wide range of issues, including crime prevention, policing, the courts and corrections, racial and economic disparities in the justice system, communities' ongoing struggle with violence and substance misuse, and new technologies that offer crime-control benefits while raising privacy and other concerns.
"For more than 50 years, criminal justice was the most divisive issue in American politics. Today, it's fertile ground for bipartisan agreement," said Gelb. "Policymakers are thirsty for sound data and research on strategies that work to cut both crime and incarceration. The Council will help quench that thirst."
Council membership is intended to recognize the accomplishments of established leaders and develop a diverse cohort of emerging leaders who will steer the field through future challenges. It also supports a field that is more inclusive of those whose perspectives often are overlooked, such as formerly incarcerated people.
Lifetime members of the Council are selected based on criteria including intellectual achievement, practical impact, dedication to research-based policymaking, standing among peers, promise of future service to the field, and potential for contributing to the Council's work.
To ensure the independence of its work, the Council will not apply for government grants or contracts, and it will not provide technical assistance or lobby. Initial funders include Arnold Ventures, the Ford Foundation, the H.F. Guggenheim Foundation, HBO, the Joyce Foundation, the New York Community Trust, and the Malcolm Hewitt Wiener Foundation.
To learn more about the Council, visit www.counciloncj.org.
SOURCE Council on Criminal Justice
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