By building a membership of top experts, innovators, and influencers, the Council creates a center of gravity for the criminal justice field, elevates the field in stature and clout, and helps build relationships among leaders and stakeholders who shape the direction of policy and practice and the quality of the national conversation. 

Membership serves as an acknowledgement of the accomplishments of established leaders and as an honor to which the next generation of criminal justice trailblazers can aspire. It helps develop a strong cohort of people ready and able to manage and lead the field through future challenges and supports the advancement of professionals and emerging leaders who are under-represented in the field, such as formerly incarcerated individuals, women, LGBTQ people, and career-changers.

Becoming a Member - Council on Criminal Justice

Becoming a member of
the council

Members must be nominated in writing by a current Council member and seconded by at least two other members. Nomination letters should introduce the candidate and address the selection criteria below. The Membership Committee will vet the nominees before a vote to elect and approve is taken by the Council’s Board of Directors.

During the vetting process, Council staff may reach out to nominated members, nominators, and others for additional information. The Board of Directors elects new members in March and October of each calendar year. Members are elected for life and are removed only by resignation or by action of the Board of Directors.

Selection Criteria

Members may be balanced across constituencies to avoid overrepresentation and the potential skewing of Council priorities. Membership selections will also reflect diversity by race, ethnicity, and gender identity, as well as the representation of professionals from under-represented groups, emerging leaders and innovators, and directly impacted people.

Practical impact on improving safety and justice
Intellectual achievement and expertise
Degree and diversity of experience
Dedication to innovation and research/data-informed policymaking
Standing and influence among peers and the field at large
Promise of future achievement and service to the field
Potential contributions to and desire and ability to participate in the work of the Council

Membership Benefits

Members may be invited to sit on independent task forces and study groups convened by the Council and may be asked to serve as reviewers of research and advisors on special projects. 

Professional connections

  • Expanding professional networks across the diverse Council leadership and membership
  • Expanding professional connections through the Council’s member listings on its website and in other materials

Priority access

  • Enjoying priority access to Council events and briefings, including pre-publication previews
  • Dissemination and promotion of publications, events, and other work via multiple Council channels, including an exclusive online membership portal

referrals for media and other opportunities

  • Receiving referrals to media seeking Council commentary in members’ areas of expertise
  • Receiving referrals for speaking engagements

research and policy agendas

  • Opportunities to help set the Council’s research and policy agenda through service on Committees and specially convened commissions and task forces