A Message from the Chair and Vice Chair of the CSG Justice Center

February 7, 2018

As you may know, Michael D. Thompson, the director of The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, informed the leadership of the CSG Justice Center’s board and David Adkins, CEO of the Council of State Governments, that he would be leaving the organization at the end of June to join The Pew Charitable Trusts.

23045357766_864c2c6bb7_oAs state leaders in the corrections and behavioral health fields, we have a deep appreciation for the remarkable things that Mike (pictured right) has accomplished over the last 20 years: building an organization that has helped states across the country become more data-driven in their efforts to improve criminal justice policies and practices through justice reinvestment and to promote what works to reduce recidivism; bringing together different systems—such as the criminal justice and behavioral health systems—to tackle shared challenges; and advancing cutting edge research that informs critical policy discussions, such as in the area of school discipline.

What we are most eager to communicate to you now is Mike’s biggest accomplishment: the team of people who are the CSG Justice Center. This organization is uniquely good at what it does—providing practical, nonpartisan, research-driven strategies and tools to increase public safety and strengthen communities. There are two reasons in particular for this. First, the board that shapes and guides the work of the CSG Justice Center is an extraordinary bipartisan cross-section of policymakers in the U.S. who are deeply invested in the success of the CSG Justice Center. Second, the diverse and committed staff represent a level of expertise, experience, and political acumen that is nothing short of exceptional.

We are very pleased that Suzanne Brown-McBride, the organization’s deputy director, has agreed to serve as the acting director following Mike’s departure at the end of June.

With extensive involvement and input from the leaders of the CSG Justice Center’s board, CSG’s CEO David Adkins will be forming a national search committee and developing a selection process for a new director of the CSG Justice Center.

In the meantime, the services, support, and leadership that the CSG Justice Center provides to the field will continue uninterrupted. In fact, expect big announcements from us over the next six months in areas such as these:

Reentry:  Showcasing the work of states where recidivism rates have declined significantly and encouraging elected officials to connect with men and women on the ground in prisons, jails, and community corrections. 

Youth:  Highlighting where and how rates of school suspensions and expulsions have declined.

Behavioral health:  Assisting states in their efforts to support counties setting measurable goals to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jail.

Employment:  Equipping leaders in the public and private sector with new resources as they consider ways to help people with criminal records secure employment. 

Justice reinvestment:  Commending states that have recently enacted major policy changes and convening policymakers from across the U.S. to chart the next wave of data-driven, consensus-based efforts to increase public safety.

We celebrate Mike’s role in helping build the Justice Center into what it is today and congratulate him on his new position at The Pew Charitable Trusts, and the new opportunities he will have to work with state and local government officials on a broad range of issues.

For more information about the road ahead for the CSG Justice Center, don’t hesitate to contact us, or feel free to contact Michael Clark, Director of External Affairs for the CSG Justice Center.

wetzel portrait

John Wetzel
Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
Chair, Executive Committee


Tracy Plouck
Director, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction
Vice Chair, Executive Committee

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