National Bipartisan Group Meets To Discuss Direction Of Cutting-Ege Criminal Justice Policies


News from the Office of District Attorney George Gascón


OCTOBER 5, 2015

CONTACT:                   Alex Bastian (415) 553-1931

Maxwell Szabo (415) 553-9089




NEW YORK― The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center gathered state and local leaders from across the nation―including respected legislators, court and law enforcement officials and cabinet secretaries―to discuss complex criminal justice policies at its annual Board of Directors meeting last week.  San Francisco County District Attorney George Gascón, a board member of the CSG Justice Center, participated in discussions among the bipartisan group of board members who gathered to determine the best ways to advance the latest evidence-based strategies on issues such as lowering recidivism rates among people who were formerly incarcerated, improving law enforcement’s response to people with mental illness, and reducing schools’ dependence on suspension and expulsion in response to student misconduct.


“The criminal justice system has failed to keep pace with the times, which is why the work that CSG is doing to advance data-driven, consensus-based approaches to public safety is so important,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “It is essential that we learn from one another and determine how we can apply the innovative ideas that leading policymakers are advancing across the U.S. here in California.”


The past year has been one of the CSG Justice Center’s most productive, working with state and local leaders on a variety of projects, including the release of the "Closer to Home" report, an analysis of Texas's juvenile justice system post-reform; collaborating with the National Association of Counties and the American Psychiatric Foundation to launch “Stepping Up: A National Initiative to Reduce the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jails”; working to pass justice reinvestment legislation in Alabama and Nebraska while also launching a new justice reinvestment project in Rhode Island and others in Massachusetts, Montana and Arkansas to follow; continuing the public dialogue between government officials and business leaders in states across the country to address employment challenges for people with criminal records; and planning for an upcoming convening of juvenile justice leaders in all 50 states to learn from each other at November's "Improving Outcomes for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System: A 50-State Forum" in Austin, TX.


In addition to reviewing the status of these respective projects, board members provided input to help shape the Justice Center’s future priorities. In planning for the upcoming year, the group examined options for helping state and local leaders undertake issues related to employment challenges for people with criminal recordsreducing the prevalence of mental and substance use disorders in jails; and improving data collection in states’ juvenile justice systems.


“I greatly appreciate the unique perspective provided by District Attorney Gascón,” said Michael D. Thompson, director of the CSG Justice Center. “We are fortunate to have the district attorney as a part of the dedicated group of talented experts represented on our board.”






The Council of State Governments Justice Center is a national nonprofit organization that serves policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels from all branches of government. It provides practical, nonpartisan advice and evidence-based, consensus-driven strategies to increase public safety and strengthen communities. For more information about the Justice Center, visit