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Our Work

Independent and nonpartisan, the Council serves as a center of gravity and incubator of policy and leadership for the criminal justice field. A national invitational membership organization and criminal justice think tank, the Council has the intellectual horsepower and diverse expertise needed to translate research and data into policy grounded in facts, evidence, and fundamental principles of justice – and the clout to turn policy proposals into action.

Explore our recent work below, or learn more about what we do.

Police & communities

Statements from Council Leaders

JUne 2020

With the push for police reform intensifying, CCJ leaders are sharing their ideas about the importance of this moment and how law enforcement agencies can collaborate with policymakers and communities to ensure safer outcomes for all citizens.


Washington Post Partnership: Race in America

JUNE 2020

During an event on June 10, 2020 co-hosted by CCJ and the Washington Post, DeRay Mckesson, co-founder of Campaign Zero, and Charles Ramsey, former police chief in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, discussed the meaning of defunding the police, the importance of addressing union contracts, and the role of law enforcement in modern society.


Admissible Evidence

JUNE 2020

With nationwide calls for police reform, Council trustee and economist Jennifer Doleac takes an in-depth look at relevant research, including a promising police recruitment tool used in Chattanooga, TN, and a procedural justice training program for officers in Chicago.


Reports & Publications

Trends in Correctional Control by Race and Sex


While significant racial and ethnic disparities remain within the U.S. criminal justice system, a new Council study shows that those gaps narrowed between 2000 and 2016 across local jail and state prison, probation, and parole populations – some by substantial margins.


The 1994 Crime Bill: Legacy & Lessons

September 2019

After 25 years, the Crime Bill is as controversial as ever—and as important to understand. What did the Crime Bill actually do? What does the research say about the impact it had on crime and justice? What lessons does it offer policymakers today? To help answer these critical questions, the Council commissioned analyses from some of the nation’s most respected crime experts.

Chapters will be released throughout 2019 and 2020.

Task Forces

National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice

Summer 2020

Chaired by former U.S. Attorneys General Alberto Gonzales and Loretta Lynch, the Commission will assess the impact of COVID-19 on the justice system, develop strategies to limit outbreaks, and produce a priority agenda of systemic policy changes to better balance public health and public safety. 


Independent Task Force on Federal Priorities

Spring 2020

Chaired by former Georgia Governor and Congressman Nathan Deal, the Council's first member task force will articulate a consensus view of the actionable, politically-viable steps that the federal government can take in the short- to medium-term that will produce the greatest improvements in public safety and the administration of justice.


Facing COVID-19

Spring 2020

Virtually overnight, COVID-19 has changed the daily reality for millions of people incarcerated in America, and for those on the front lines in corrections, the courts, law enforcement, and organizations supporting reentry. Leaders across the criminal justice field are managing the unprecedented crisis day-to-day while striving to ensure that lessons learned from the pandemic help strengthen responses to future emergencies.

To promote candid, helpful discussion among professionals and policymakers, the Council on Criminal Justice launched a series of moderated video conferences designed to illuminate successful strategies and highlight challenges receiving too little attention.


Leadership Summit

October 2019

On October 17, 2019, the Council on Criminal Justice and Arnold Ventures convened 200 top leaders, thinkers and doers from across the criminal justice and policy field for the Inaugural Leadership Summit in Washington, DC. This one-day event explored the key forces and trends that are shaping the criminal justice reform landscape today and provided attendees the opportunity to shape the nation's safety and justice agenda.


Bleeding Out: Strategies to Reduce Urban Violence

July 2019

On July 31, 2019 the Council on Criminal Justice and The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation hosted Thomas Abt, Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and author of Bleeding Out: Strategies to Reduce Urban Violence, for a discussion with Wesley Lowery, National Correspondent for The Washington Post. They were joined by an expert panel to explore how evidence-based solutions can be put into action to benefit communities facing urban violence.