better courts | better outcomes
The U.S. criminal justice system consumes $212 billion a year and employs 2.4 million people. Flagging and fixing problems in a system that large requires a network of advisors, experts, and stakeholders. Everyone MFJ has tapped to help in this initiative plays an integral role.
The Data Council comprises measurement experts with diverse expertise in the judicial system (experts on the judiciary, the bench, indigent defense, race in the courts, etc.) whose goal is to help identify appropriate and meaningful indicators of how well or poorly the justice system is performing.
Current Data Council members include:
MFJ President and Executive Director
Amy Bach founded Measures for Justice in April 2011 as a follow-up to her acclaimed book, Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court, which won the 2010 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. In June 2011, Echoing Green, a premier seed investor for social entrepreneurs, selected Amy as a Fellow out of 3,000 candidates worldwide to support the launch of Measures for Justice. For her work on Ordinary Injustice, Amy received a Soros Media Fellowship, a special J. Anthony Lukas citation, and a Radcliffe Fellowship. She was a Knight Foundation Journalism Fellow at Yale Law School, and she is a graduate of Stanford Law School. She is now a visiting professor at Buffalo Law School teaching criminal law. She lives in Rochester, NY.
District Attorney, Milwaukee County
John Chisholm is the District Attorney of Milwaukee County. His office handles criminal cases for the State of Wisconsin in the Milwaukee County Circuit Court. Prior to being elected as Milwaukee County District Attorney, he was an Assistant Milwaukee County District Attorney, responsible for violent crime, drug, and firearm prosecutions. John chairs the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys based in Washington, D.C., and serves on the Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission, Community Justice Council, Safe & Sound, and Milwaukee Addiction Treatment Initiative boards, and is past chair of the Milwaukee High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area board.
Public Health Solutions, New York
Derek Coursen joined Public Health Solutions in 2007, and currently directs informatics for the administration of New York City’s portfolio of HIV care and prevention contracts. He was previously Director of Information Management at the Vera Institute of Justice, where he co-led projects that developed indicators for New York State’s juvenile justice system and New York City’s child welfare court filings. Derek has published several articles on data modeling in public service settings, and he has a particular focus on information system design in relation to diverse stakeholder purposes around operations, performance measurement and evaluation.
Department of Criminal Justice, Loyola University, Chicago
Dr. Gipsy Escobar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and a faculty member of the Graduate School at Loyola University of Chicago. Dr. Escobar received her Ph.D. from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She has conducted research on social disorganization, violent and drug crime, collective violence and terrorism in Colombia; the multilevel risk factors for prisoner recidivism in Illinois; the gender differences in disciplinary infractions in prison and school settings in Illinois; the case processing of domestic violence and sex offenses in New York; the effects of school-based gang prevention programs on student attitudes in New Jersey, among other things. Her research interests include the spatial study of social disorganization and crime in urban settings, social capital, violent crime, collective violence, domestic violence, recidivism, crime and justice measurement, quantitative and spatial methods, and evaluation research. She has also provided technical assistance to agencies such as the New York Department of Juvenile Justice, the Family Violence and Child Abuse Bureau of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, and the Center for Court Innovation.
Margaret A. Gressens
North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services (IDF)
Since 2001, Margaret Gressens has been the Research Director for the Office of Indigent Defense Services. From 1996 to 2000, Margaret was a Health Planner for the Municipality of Anchorage, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), where she directed a project that measured the health and quality of life of the municipality. She was Assistant Director of the Real Security Education Project for the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., where she co-designed a research and education project on the impact of U.S. foreign policy on the U.S. and the international economy. She has also worked for the Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska, and for the Office of United States Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (NY), Washington, D.C.
National Center for State Courts, Williamsburg, VI
Ingo Keilitz is principal court research consultant at the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) in Williamsburg, Virginia. From 1995 to 2010, he headed CourtMetrics, a management consulting firm specializing in performance measurement and management in the justice sector. Over the last ten years, he has focused on helping justice systems throughout the world build court performance measurement and management systems. Ingo is a major contributor to the development of court performance standards and measures, including: Appellate CourTools (2009), the CourTools (2005), the Trial Court Performance Standards with Commentary (1995), the Trial Courts Performance Standards and Measurement System (1997), the Family Court Performance Standards and Measures (1999), Quality Counts: A Manual of Family Court Performance Measurement (2001), the National Probate Court Standards (1993), the Guidelines for State Court Decision Making in Life-Sustaining Medical Treatment Cases (1992), and the Guidelines for Involuntary Civil Commitment (1986). He is co-inventor of CourtMetrix, a computer-based court performance dashboard produced by ACS, Inc. His book, Made to Measure: Developing Court Metrics and Building Performance Measurement Systems, is scheduled to be published next year.
Vera Institute of Justice, New York
Jim Parsons is the Director of the Substance Use and Mental Health Program at the Vera Institute of Justice and Principal Investigator in Vera’s International Indicators Group. Among other projects, he is currently directing research on the impact of recent reforms to drug law sentencing policies in New York City, developing research-led jail reentry initiatives in New York and Los Angeles, and working with criminal justice and behavioral health agencies in Washington, D.C., to inform the provision of forensic substance use and mental health treatment services. Jim’s international work includes a project for the United Nations to develop and test indicators of justice system performance for use in post-conflict settings, and a long-term initiative to develop and evaluate justice system reform projects in China. Jim has published on empirical research methods for improving justice systems, jail reentry services, the use of indicators to evaluate justice system performance, and public health interventions targeting substance users.
Department of Criminal Justice, Loyola University, Chicago
Don Stemen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Loyola University Chicago. Prior to joining Loyola in 2007, he was the Director of Research for Sentencing and Corrections at the Vera Institute of Justice. His research explores the innovation and diffusion of sentencing and corrections policies in the United States, the macro-level intersection between sentencing policies and imprisonment, and the micro-level impact of sentencing policies on the use of discretion. He is currently the principal investigator on a National Institute of Justice funded project examining the decision-making processes of prosecutors and the impact of legal and extra-legal factors on prosecutorial outcomes.
John Jay College, New York
Valerie West is an Assistant Professor at John Jay College. Prior to John Jay, Valerie was a Senior Research Analyst at the Center for Crime Community & the Law at Columbia University School of Law, and the Center for Violence Research and Prevention at Columbia University School of Public Health. Her research and scholarship have focused on the interaction of crime, inequality, law, and social policy. Valerie has written extensively on the role of race and place in: capital sentencing; the re-adoption of capital punishment; the capital review process; and incarceration. She is currently examining the neighborhood effects of incarceration and race on voting participation (registration and turnout) in New York City between 1990 and 2002. In addition, she is researching the influence of race on clearance rates for capital homicide and capital sentencing. She is also developing a long-term research project on incarceration and community disenfranchisement.
Business Model Advisory Committee
The MFJ Advisory Committee provides crucial strategic guidance for the organization with a particular focus on fundraising and developing a model to expand the Index and generate revenue.
President and CEO of Rhiza, Pittsburgh, PA
Josh has been a social entrepreneur for the past 20 years, creating and leading successful organizations in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. His ability to spot emerging trends in technology and how they can be used for the betterment of society and the environment have caused him to be considered a leading expert in the field. In the Spring of 2010, Josh was appointed by the Obama Administration to a working group of President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
Prior to Rhiza Labs, Josh led MAYA Design’s Information Commons project. Before that, he founded and served as CEO of Green Marketplace, a clearing-house for socially and environmentally responsible products, services and information, which he sold to Gaiam in 2002. In 1991, Josh founded and served as Executive Director of the EnviroLink Network, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to helping organizations adopt emerging technologies, and was one of the first .orgs on the Internet.
Philanthropist and Founder of Social Venture Network, New York
Josh, veteran angel investor and philanthropist, has made over 80 early-stage investments for both himself and on behalf of friends who he advises. In 1999, the Mailman family endowed $33 million to fund the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. In 1987, Mr. Mailman and fellow philanthropist Wayne Silby founded Social Venture Network. SVN is dedicated to inspiring a community of business and social leaders to build a just economy and sustainable planet. SVN has spawned other similar and successful ventures specializing in investments for social good, including Investors’ Circle, Net Impact, and the Threshold Foundation. In addition to ongoing board activities (Blacksmith Institute, Human Rights Watch, the Fund for Global Human Rights, Sierra Madre Alliance, Witness) and sitting on the Sigrid Rausing Trust, U.K. and the Joshua Mailman Foundation, Mr. Mailman is creating a program to support Muslim Social Entrepreneurs in the Middle East, and managing Serious Change LP, a global for-profit social venture fund.
Director, McKinsey & Company, San Francisco and Washington, DC
Lenny is a co-founder of the McKinsey Public Sector Practice and a director (senior partner) in the Washington DC and San Francisco offices. He directs the Firm’s work with state and local governments and is part of the leadership team of the McKinsey Center for Government. Lenny led the Firm’s knowledge development efforts overseeing the McKinsey Global Institute and the Firm’s communications, which includes the McKinsey Quarterly, and has served for a decade on the McKinsey Shareholder Council (its board of directors). Since joining McKinsey in 1983, he has helped numerous public-sector, nonprofit, and corporate clients address their most complex management challenges.
Executive Director, Sunlight Foundation, Washington, DC
Ellen S. Miller is the co-founder and executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington-based, non-partisan non-profit dedicated to using the power of the Internet to catalyze greater government openness and transparency. She is the founder of two other prominent Washington-based organizations in the field of money and politics — the Center for Responsive Politics and Public Campaign — and a nationally recognized expert on transparency and the influence of money in politics. Her experience as a Washington advocate for more than 35 years spans the worlds of non-profit advocacy, grassroots activism and journalism.
Ellen serves on the Board of Directors of the Sunlight Foundation, Publish What You Fund, the Center for Responsive Politics and Heaven Hill Distilleries. She is a Trustee of the Awesome Foundation, Washington, D.C. and is a member of the Policy Advisory Council of Transparency International, U.S.
Richard J. Morello
Family Reach Foundation and
Rick Morello is president and CEO of Plasma Surgical, a medical device company in Atlanta, Georgia which has developed a new technology for surgical care. Prior to joining Plasma Surgical in March 2012, Rick was the Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations at Proventys, a healthcare technology company that developed web-based decision support solutions in oncology. Prior to joining Proventys, Rick served as the Managing Director of a division of Joslin Diabetes Center, a Harvard Medical Affiliate. In this role, he was responsible for managing the Division’s operations and commercializing innovations through partnerships with multiple industry collaborators. While at Joslin, he also served as CEO of Veraxa Health, a venture focused on commercializing Joslin’s telemedicine technology for detection of diabetic eye disease. Before his roles at Joslin and Veraxa, Rick spent a decade at Mercer Management Consulting (now Oliver Wyman), most recently as a partner in the Strategy and Life Sciences practices. Rick also served on the early management team of Medsite, Inc., an e-health company acquired by WebMD. Rick also co-founded and serves as the President of Family Reach Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides financial relief and support to families fighting cancer. Rick had served as its volunteer Executive Director for a decade, helping to grow Family Reach into a national organization that has assisted over 2,000 families through relationships with 15 major cancer centers and hospitals coast to coast. Rick holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Executive Director, Grameen Health Innovations, New York
Allison Schwartz is the Executive Director of Grameen Health Innovations, which combines her passion for social justice, women’s rights, and advocacy. Prior to joining Grameen Health Innovations, she worked as fellow at The Correctional Association’s Women In Prison Project, where she helped craft the Domestic Violence Survivors’ Justice Act and its advocacy campaign. The most rewarding aspect of her fellowship was interviewing formerly incarcerated survivors in support of Domestic Violence legislation and turning their personal experiences into powerful testimonies. Allison allowed her private life to become public, when she was selected to appear in the HBO documentary The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia. She continues to speak at conferences educating the public and school leaders about dyslexia. She earned her BA from the University of Chicago in History and Philosophy, and received her MA in American Studies from Columbia University.
The council includes major stakeholders in the justice system (national associations related to police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, etc.) asked to review and approve the Index.
The review process, along with any conflicting opinions, will be made public on this website. The council’s work will create transparency; and its endorsement will lend the MFJ Index the degree of authority and legitimacy it needs to be successful. Stakeholders will be named shortly.