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Inaugural Leadership Summit
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Inaugural Leadership Summit

Help shape the nation's criminal justice agenda at the Council’s first convening.

When: Thursday, October 17, 2019
9:00am - 3:30pm
Where: Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Washington, DC
Contact: Council on Criminal Justice

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The Inaugural Leadership Summit, co-hosted by the Council on Criminal Justice and Arnold Ventures, will offer participants the chance to:

  • Deepen their understanding of the key forces and trends that are shaping the criminal justice reform landscape,
  • Help shape the national safety and justice agenda by providing feedback on proposed recommendations from the Council’s first member task force,
  • Discuss issues and strategies with Council leaders and other policymakers, practitioners, researchers and advocates who are among the most influential leaders and innovators in the field, and
  • Learn more about the Council and how it can help us drive bipartisan progress toward a system grounded in facts, evidence and fundamental principles of justice.

Attendance by invitation only. Please contact us for more information.

Summit Agenda

Welcome & Opening Remarks

9:00 AM

Learn about the genesis and mission of the new Council on Criminal Justice, and the vision and goals for the day.

Abby Walsh - Director, Council on Criminal Justice
Laurie Robinson - Chair, Board of Directors, Council on Criminal Justice
Adam Gelb - President & CEO, Council on Criminal Justice
Jeremy Travis - Executive Vice President of Criminal Justice, Arnold Ventures

Game Changers:
Forces Shaping the Criminal Justice Landscape

9:20 am

Technology offers potential to prevent and solve crimes, but raises concerns about privacy. Humanization suggests people increasingly recognize the need for second chances. Bipartisanship now characterizes issues that used to tear parties apart. Which of these and other forces are true game changers that can alter the course of the American criminal justice system, for better or worse? Which are the most susceptible to interventions by the criminal justice community? A panel of experts discusses forces atop the national safety and justice agenda as selected by participants in a pre-Summit poll. But first, Summit attendees will take a look back at the last three decades that have shaped criminal justice policy.


Roy Austin - Partner, Harris, Wiltshire and Grannis, LLP (moderator)
Marissa Dodson - Public Policy Director, Southern Center for Human Rights
Alice Marie Johnson - Author, Speaker & Social Justice Advocate
DeRay Mckesson - Co-Founder, Campaign Zero
Grover Norquist - President, Americans for Tax Reform
Colette Peters - Director, Oregon Department of Corrections
Charles Ramsey - former Chief of Police and Commissioner in DC, Philadelphia and Chicago
Louis Reed - National Organizer, #cut50
Bruce Western - Bryce Professor of Sociology and Co-Director, Columbia University Justice Lab

In Perspective: Mental Health

10:45 am

People with mental illnesses are nine-times more likely to be incarcerated than hospitalized, and nearly 40% of people with serious mental illnesses will come into contact with the criminal justice system at some point in their lifetime. As funding for community mental health services continues to lose out to other state budget priorities, the criminal justice system continues to be the first - and often only - line of defense in treating people with mental illness. Judge Steven Leifman joins Major Jimmie Barrett for a discussion about the mental health reforms in Miami-Dade County (FL) and the path forward at the state and federal level.

Major Jimmie Barrett - Director of Corrections, Arlington County (VA) Sheriff's Office
Judge Steven Leifman - Associate Administrative Judge, Miami-Dade County Court, 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida

The View from the White House

11:00 AM

The passage of the FIRST STEP Act in 2018 signaled a new era of reform from the federal government. Hear from Ja'Ron Smith, Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, for an update on implementation of the legislation and the steps ahead.

Ja'Ron Smith - Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy

The Next Step:
CCJ Task Force on Federal Priorities

11:15 AM

Following the FIRST STEP Act, there is significant momentum for additional measures, but what are the actionable, politically-viable steps the federal government should prioritize? Members of the Council's Task Force on Federal Priorities share their draft recommendations for the next steps Washington should take on federal sentencing, reentry, and assistance to state and local jurisdictions.

Nancy La Vigne - Vice President for Justice Policy, Urban Institute (moderator)
Eddie Bocanegra - Senior Director, READI Chicago
Nathan Deal - former Governor of Georgia (via video)
Mark Holden - Senior Vice President, Koch Industries, LLC
Sally Yates - Partner, King & Spalding

Lunch Discussion:
Federal Priorities Recommendations

12:15 PM

Participant feedback will be relayed to the Task Force for consideration in their final report.

When Reform Meets Reality:
Sustaining Progress in the Face of Obstacles

1:15 PM

Even the best ideas for reform can run into a buzzsaw of obstacles on the ground. This panel explores three types of challenges - political, policy, and program - and offer insights into lessons learned for identifying, confronting and overcoming them.

John Tilley - Justice Cabinet Secretary, Kentucky (moderator)
Len Engel - Director of Policy and Campaigns, Crime and Justice Institute
Douglas Marlowe - Chief of Science, Law & Policy, Nat'l Association of Drug Court Professionals
Janelle Melohn - Victim Services Director, Iowa Attorney General's Office

In Perspective: Reducing Recidivism

2:00 PM

As comprehensive criminal justice reform continues to play out in the states, governments and communities continue to grapple with best practices for reducing recidivism. Dr. Jennifer Doleac, director of the Justice Tech Lab and one of the nation's foremost experts on the economics of crime, found some surprising evidence about what works - and doesn't - to reduce recidivism. President Emeritus of the Safer Foundation, Diane Williams, discusses the implications of the latest research for policy and practice.

Jennifer Doleac - Director, Justice Tech Lab
Diane Williams - President Emeritus, Safer Foundation

2020 and Beyond:
The Political Path ahead

2:15 PM

What are the sources of the current bipartisan detente on crime and punishment and how can they be nurtured? What are the dangers of re-weaponizing crime in the context of the presidential campaign? Where are the landmines and ripest areas for progress? A panel of the nation's leading policy maker discusses the road to reform that lies ahead.

Kevin Madden - Executive Vice President of Advocacy, Arnold Ventures (moderator)
Matt Bevin - Governor of Kentucky
Jerry Brown - former Governor of California (via video)
Mike Lee - U.S. Senator, R-UT
Other panelists to be announced


3:00 PM

On an average day in America, nearly 50 people lose their lives to urban violence. For young Latino men, homicide is the second-leading cause of death. For young black men, it is not just the leading cause of death; homicide accounts for more deaths than the nine other top causes combined. But we now know of strategies that can work to reduce urban violence. What can police departments and communities do differently to stop the killing? What should state governments and policymakers in Washington do to support these efforts?

Thomas Abt - Senior Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Rev. Michael McBride - Director of Urban Strategies & LIVE FREE Campaign, Faith in Action

Closing Remarks

3:15 PM

The co-chairs of the Council's advisory Board of Trustees sum up the day and offer their view looking forward.

Mark Holden - Trustee Co-Chair, Council on Criminal Justice
Sally Yates - Trustee Co-Chair, Council on Criminal Justice