An effective criminal justice system protects people and preserves public safety while respecting human dignity and ensuring equal justice for all under the law.

After years of policies informed by tough-on-crime rhetoric that resulted in skyrocketing levels of incarceration and unintended consequences for individuals, families, and communities, the country has an urgent need to better orient the justice system.

We partner with scholars whose rigorous analysis informs improvements to the system.

Focus areas

  • Policing reform
    Insight into new models that re-imagine the role of police and first response, with a focus on maintaining public safety while providing more diverse forms of community support.
  • Impact studies and pilot projects
    Research that explores piloting and scaling programs with potential for decreasing needless or harmful interactions with the justice system.
  • Drug policy
    Scholarship that sheds light on the shifting landscape of drug policy, including the effects of decriminalization and legalization on public safety, public well-being, and policing.

Our partners

  • Barry Friedman at NYU School of Law: Friedman is one of the country’s leading authorities on constitutional law, policing, criminal procedures, and federal courts. He is the founding director of NYU’s Policing Project, where he and his team explore models for policing reform that are focused on ensuring that the police respond only to those emergencies for which they are best suited.

  • Brandon Garrett at Duke University: Garrett, the L. Neil Williams Professor of Law, is among the most highly cited criminal-justice experts in the country with expertise in criminal procedure, scientific evidence, wrongful convictions, eyewitness identification, Constitutional law, and criminal-justice policy. He serves as director of the Wilson Center for Science and Justice at Duke, which engages on a wide range of research topics including alternatives to prison, behavioral health, fines and fees, forensic science, plea bargaining, and sentencing. Garrett is the court-appointed monitor for the landmark pretrial reform settlement in Harris Co., Texas, helping to assess the progress and impact of that misdemeanor bail reform, which could serve as a national model.

  • Pam Metzger at Southern Methodist University: Pam Metzger is a nationally recognized expert on Sixth Amendment issues, with a particular emphasis on access to counsel; she is also the inaugural director of the Deason Center for Criminal Justice at Southern Methodist. While an accomplished scholar, Metzger is also well known for her advocacy work in New Orleans. In 2005, she worked to help 8,000 indigent defendants left incarcerated without legal representation after Hurricane Katrina.

  • Anne Milgram at New York University: Anne Milgram is professor of practice and distinguished scholar in residence at NYU Law School. She was previously attorney general of New Jersey, where she received acclaim for programs that reformed the Camden Police Department. She also was previously the head of the Arnold Foundation’s criminal justice efforts. She is a frequently cited expert on criminal justice reform issues and has contributed to or been cited in The Atlantic, CNN, The New York Times, Bloomberg and the Washington Post.

  • Doug Berman at Ohio State University: Berman is among the nation’s preeminent legal scholars on issues pertaining to criminal law and criminal sentencing. He has served as an editor for the Federal Sentencing Reporter for more than a decade and is also the sole creator and author of the widely read Sentencing Law and Policy blog, which receives nearly 100,000 page views per month. At OSU, Doug is both a law professor and director of the Drug Enforcement Policy Center, which brings together scholarship from across academia to help shape and enrich public conversations about the intersecting fields of criminal justice, drug policy, and enforcement.

  • Erik Luna at Arizona State University: Luna is the Amelia D. Lewis Professor of Constitutional and Criminal Law in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. Through his work leading ASU’s Academy for Justice, he has been able to bring together top criminal justice scholars and produced research to fill in understanding gaps in sentencing, civil asset forfeiture, and collateral consequences.

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