Advisory Board

Our Advisory Board establishes the policy and project priorities of The Council of State Governments Justice Center. The board features state legislators from both political parties, judicial leaders, health and human service agency administrators, victim advocates, corrections administrators, juvenile justice professionals, law enforcement officials, and people who have experienced the criminal justice system firsthand. Together, our Advisory Board represents a cross-section of leaders who shape criminal justice policy in various parts of the country.

Executive Committee


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Justice Michael P. Boggs, Chair
Supreme Court of Georgia, GA
Justice Michael P. Boggs serves on the Supreme Court of Georgia. Previously, Justice Boggs served as a judge on the Court of Appeals of Georgia from 2012 through 2016. Prior to his appellate judicial service, Justice Boggs served as a
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superior court judge where he founded his circuit’s felony drug court program, and served as its presiding judge. Justice Boggs also previously served in the Georgia General Assembly. Justice Boggs has received numerous awards and recognitions throughout his legislative and judicial career, including the Georgia Sheriff’s Association “Leadership Award,” the Georgia District Attorney’s Association “Commitment to Justice Award,” recognition for his support of the Magnolia House Shelter for abused women and child victims of domestic violence, and the Boy Scouts of America “Golden Eagle” Award. In 2017, Justice Boggs was awarded the prestigious St. Thomas More Award for his work in leading the state in criminal justice reform, and in 2019 was awarded the “Spirit of Justice” award by the Appellate Practice Section of the State Bar of Georgia. Justice Boggs served as a member of Georgia’s Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform in 2011 and served as co-chair of the Georgia Criminal Justice Reform Council from 2012 to 2018. He currently serves as a member of Georgia’s Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission and chairs the Mental Health Courts and Corrections subcommittee. Justice Boggs also serves on the Pew Public Safety Performance Project Councils on Jails/Pretrial and Community Corrections and Civil Justice Reform, as well as the National Center for State Courts Evidence-Based Sentencing Peer Group. Justice Boggs is a member of the Georgia Judicial Nominating Commission, the Mercer Law School Board of Visitors, and the Board of Directors of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation.
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Commissioner Marie Williams, Vice Chair
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, TN
Marie Williams was appointed commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services by Governor Bill Haslam in October 2016. Prior to that, she was the department’s deputy director, serving as a top advisor to the commissioner
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and assisting in the closure of Lakeshore Mental Health Institute. The closure reinvested $20.5 million into community-based services and enlisted the support of three East Tennessee private psychiatric inpatient hospital partners to provide services to patients previously served by Lakeshore. She also worked with the commissioner to create the Prescription for Success initiative, a multifaceted strategy to address the prescription drug problem in Tennessee. Previously, Williams served as the assistant commissioner of mental health services, where she worked to expand consumer-based recovery services and oversaw the statewide planning and implementation of the behavioral health safety net program. Williams also launched the Creating Homes Initiative, served as a Community Builder Fellow with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, was director of homeless services for Catholic Charities of Memphis, and led Homeless Services at the Midtown Mental Health Center in Memphis.
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Sheriff Peter John Koutoujian, Jr.
Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office, MA
During his nearly eight years in office, Sheriff Peter Koutoujian has initiated several landmark programs at the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office that have garnered national attention. These include a medication-assisted treatment program recognized as a Center of Excellence by the National
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Institute of Corrections. Under Sheriff Koutoujian, Middlesex County was also chosen as one of three Data Driven Justice Project pilot sites by Arnold Ventures. In October 2017, he was selected by his peers to serve as president of the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association; he is also a founding member of Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime & Incarceration and has been recognized as a “champion of justice reform” by the Coalition for Public Safety. Sheriff Koutoujian is a graduate of Bridgewater State University, the New England School of Law, and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
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Director Anne L. Precythe
Missouri Department of Corrections, MO
Anne L. Precythe became the director of the Missouri Department of Corrections in 2017. In this role, Precythe is responsible for 21 adult correctional facilities, 6 community supervision centers, a community release center, and more than 40 probation and parole
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offices across Missouri. She oversees more than 11,000 staff, 58,000 people on probation and parole, and 33,000 incarcerated people. Before becoming the second woman to serve as director of the department, Precythe was the director of the Division of Community Corrections in the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, where she served from March 2013 to December 2016. Previously, Precythe served as the North Carolina Division of Community Corrections Supervision Services administrator. In 2015, she was appointed by United States Attorney Eric Holder to the National Institute of Corrections Advisory Board, representing community corrections across the country.
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Director Cam Ward
Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles, AL
Cam Ward is the director of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles, where he is responsible for all agency operations in support of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles. From 2011 to 2020, Ward served in the Alabama
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State Senate, where he chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee for nine years. In 2014, he was appointed by Governor Robert Bentley to serve as the chair of Alabama’s Prison Reform Task Force, which is a group of state policymakers and practitioners that guides the Justice Reinvestment Initiative in Alabama. Ward previously served two terms in the Alabama House of Representatives. He received his bachelor’s degree from Troy University and his JD from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University.
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Board Members At-Large


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Marsha R. Curry-Nixon
Founder, Executive Director, Amiracle4sure, Inc., Reentry Services, PA
Marsha R. Curry-Nixon is the founder and executive director of Amiracle4sure, Inc., a ministry focused on renewing, refreshing, and restoring the lives of people reentering the community after incarceration. Her work as an educator, counselor, and mentor has brought her
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to prisons, rehabilitation facilities, and churches with the intention of educating communities on the needs of this population. Curry-Nixon sits on the executive board for the Capital Region Ex-Offenders Coalition, is an advisory board member for Correctional Ministries Chaplains Association, and is a trainer and facilitator for Healing Communities of PA. She earned her associate degree at Harrisburg Area Community College, her bachelor’s at Lebanon Valley College, and an MA in public service leadership.
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Bryan Collier
Executive Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Bryan Collier was appointed executive director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) in August 2016. In his current role, he oversees the operations of one of the largest adult criminal justice systems in the country, for which he
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is responsible for the confinement and care of approximately 146,000 people convicted of felony offenses, the supervision of roughly 490,000 people on probation or parole, and the management of nearly 37,000 employees statewide. Collier began his career in adult corrections more than three decades ago, having joined the TDCJ in 1985 as a clerk. Since then, he has held a wide variety of positions with the agency, including correctional officer, parole officer, unit supervisor, program administrator, section director, parole division director, and deputy executive director. He is an active member of the Association of State Correctional Administrators and the American Correctional Association (ACA) and serves as an ex-officio member of the Texas Department of Information Resources board. He sits on numerous committees for the ACA, including the Awards Committee, the Board of Governors, the Congress Program Planning Committee, and the Standards Committee. Collier formerly served as chair of the ACA Adult Corrections Committee, is a past member of the ACA Delegate Assembly, and a past member and president of the Texas Corrections Association (TCA). He has been recognized as one of the ACA’s “best in the business” and received the Dr. George J. Beto Hall of Honor award from the TCA in 2013. He has a BS in criminology and corrections from Sam Houston State University.
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Bernice Corley
Executive Director, Indiana Public Defender Council, IN
Bernice A. N. Corley is the executive director of the Indiana Public Defender Council. As executive director, she helps manage the agency and carry out the policies established by the Board of Directors. Prior to joining the Public Defender Council,
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Corley served four years as general counsel at the Department of Education and also served as legal counsel for both the Indiana Senate and Indiana House of Representatives. Her career includes clerking for Hon. Carr Darden. Corley served as a Marion County public defender, as trial counsel, as well as appellate counsel.
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Laurie Dudgeon
Director, Administrative Office of the Courts, Kentucky Court of Justice
As director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, Laurie K. Dudgeon administers the judicial branch budget, monitors legislation, and works with county, state, and national officials on court-related issues. She is responsible for providing administrative support to Kentucky's 404
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elected justices, judges, and circuit court clerks. Laurie previously practiced law in Kentucky and South Carolina; she was also executive director of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy and a staff attorney in the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet. She has a BA and JD from the University of Kentucky.
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Michelle M. Garcia
Director, District of Columbia Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants
Michelle M. Garcia was appointed director of the District of Columbia Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants in December 2015. As director, she provides leadership and coordination of District-funded programs that serve crime victims, prevent crime, and improve the
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administration of justice for victims and people who commit crimes. Prior to her appointment, Garcia worked with the Stalking Resource Center of the National Center for Victims of Crime for nearly a decade, serving as the director for over nine years. She previously served as a program specialist with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime and has over 20 years of experience working on the local, state, and national levels in the movements to end stalking, sexual assault, and domestic and dating violence. Garcia has trained internationally on these issues and has published numerous articles on stalking. She received her MPP from the University of Chicago.
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Representative John Lovick
State House of Representatives, State of Washington
John Lovick was appointed to the Washington House of Representatives in 2016. He previously served in the House for nine years beginning in 1998, which included five years as speaker pro tempore; he also served on the Mill Creek City
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Council, which included a year as mayor pro tempore. In 2007, Lovick was elected as Snohomish County Sheriff, a position he served in until 2013, when he was appointed to be the Snohomish County Executive. Lovick served as a state trooper in the Washington State Patrol for 31 years and was named Trooper of the Year in 1992. He also served in the United States Coast Guard for 13 years.
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Joe O'Leary
Director, Oregon Youth Authority, OR
In February 2018, Joe O’Leary became the director of the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA), the state’s juvenile justice agency, after serving as acting director since September 2017, and as its deputy director before that. His professional experience ranges from working
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as a public defender to advising two governors on public safety and legal issues. As the OYA director, Joe is responsible for overseeing the operations of the agency, which serves approximately 1,400 youths ages 12‐24 at any given time. Immediately before joining OYA as deputy director in June 2012, O'Leary ran the Policy, Planning and Legislative Analysis Division at the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System. Prior to his state government service, O'Leary was a trial attorney in Portland. He began his legal career as a public defender, which included a stint in juvenile court. Afterward, he spent several years in private practice representing members of law enforcement, corporate officers, lawyers, and employees. Prior to attending law school, he worked in a Latino farmworker community in Central Washington as a volunteer housing program coordinator through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest. He received his undergraduate degree from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, and his JD from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland.
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Sheriff John R. Mehr
Madison County Sheriff's Office, TN
Sheriff John R. Mehr was elected to serve as the Sheriff of Madison County, Tennessee, in August 2014 and was reelected in 2018. His entire working career has been devoted to law enforcement, with 38 of those years in the
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Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI). In 1975, Mehr joined the TBI as a special agent for the Criminal Investigation Division and worked his way up to Special Agent in Charge for the Western District of Tennessee, Criminal Investigation Division, in which he served from 1991 until his retirement in 2012. He has been a member of  numerous organizations, including the West Tennessee Criminal Investigators Association, where he served as President from 2000–2002 and was honored as Officer of the Year for 2005–2006. Past awards include the Director’s Award from the Tennessee Highway Safety Office in 2018 and Union University 2018 Champion of Victims’ Rights Award. Sheriff Mehr received his BS in law enforcement from the University of Tennessee Martin and his MA from The University of Memphis. He is a 2008 graduate of the Tennessee Government Management Institute and a graduate of the FBI National Academy, 139th session, among other programs.
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Ann Miller
Managing Attorney, Defender's Office of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, MT
Ann M. Miller has been an attorney with the Tribal Defenders Office of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes on the Flathead Reservation in Montana for 23 years and the managing attorney for 13. During her tenure, the Defenders Office
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implemented an innovative in-house service for clients with co-occurring mental illness and chemical dependency and adopted a holistic defense practice with assistance from the Center for Holistic Defense, sponsored by the Bronx Defenders Office in New York. In 2015, her office created the Flathead Reservation Reentry Program that provides interdisciplinary, supportive services for tribal members returning to the reservation from incarceration. Miller served on Montana’s Public Defender Commission for six years and Montana’s Statewide Reentry Task Force for two. She currently serves on the Missoula Criminal Justice Coordinating Council that seeks criminal justice reform in Missoula, Montana.
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Chief Gordon Ramsay
Wichita Police Department, KS
Chief Gordon Ramsay has been the Wichita Police Chief since January 2016. A long-time proponent of community policing, he also served for nearly a decade as police chief in Duluth, Minnesota, where he had been a member of the force
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since 1996. He is a past president of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association and served as the general chair of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Midsize Agencies Division. Chief Ramsay received his BA in criminology and sociology from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and his MA in management from the College of St. Scholastica. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy Session 222.
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Senator Richard Sears
Chair, Judiciary Committee, Vermont Senate, VT
Vermont Senator Richard Sears has served in the Vermont State Legislature for 24 years and has chaired the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee for 20 years. A passionate advocate for improving the criminal justice system, Sen. Sears also chairs the Corrections
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Oversight Committee and has worked with residential programs for troubled youths for more than 35 years. Sen. Sears began his public service in 1987, when he was elected to the Bennington Select Board, where he served for seven years before his election to the Vermont State Legislature in 1992. Sen. Sears received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont.
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Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr.
Illinois State Senate
Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr. serves as state senator for the 17th Illinois Senate District. Prior to joining the Illinois Senate, he served nearly four terms as state representative of Illinois’s 34th House District. A member of the Illinois Senate
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Criminal Law Committee, Sims is one of Illinois’s leading voices in the effort to reform the state’s criminal justice system. Sims has also spearheaded efforts to pass a comprehensive criminal justice reform bill that will change the current use of force policy and how courts impose bail and sentence people. Sims led efforts to move Illinois away from the use of cash bail through passage of the Bail Reform Act of 2017. Sims holds a BA in political science from Illinois State University, an MPA from the University of Illinois, and a JD from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
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Charles A. Spahos
Chief Financial Crimes Prosecutor, North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys, NC
Charles A. “Chuck” Spahos has been the chief financial crimes prosecutor for the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys since January 2018. Prior to this role, Spahos served more than 5 years as the executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys'
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Council of Georgia following more than 10 years as the elected solicitor-general of Henry County, Georgia. He previously practiced law as a sole practitioner and served as the solicitor for the City of McDonough Municipal Court. Additionally, Spahos is a certified police officer, having been a patrol officer, a narcotics investigator, and later the chief investigator of the Flint Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office. He also served as an assistant district attorney upon graduating from law school. Spahos received his BS in criminal justice from Mercer University and graduated magna cum laude from John Marshall Law School. Spahos served in the U.S. Army National Guard from 1987 to 1992 and was on active duty during Operation Desert Storm.
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Thomas Stickrath
Director, Ohio Department of Public Safety, OH
Thomas Stickrath brings more than 30 years of experience in the criminal justice field to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. Stickrath began his career in 1978 with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) and subsequently served as warden
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at the Orient Correctional Institution and regional director of the DRC, before being named assistant director in 1991. In 2005, Governor Bob Taft appointed him the director of the Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS). Under his leadership, the department achieved national accreditation for all of its programs, earning DYS the American Correctional Association’s distinguished Eagle Award. In 2010, Governor Ted Strickland appointed Stickrath the director of the Department of Public Safety, where he oversaw the State Highway Patrol, Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and Homeland Security. The following year, then-Attorney General Mike DeWine tapped Stickrath to serve as superintendent of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, overseeing the state crime lab and a team of law enforcement professionals. Stickrath also chairs Ohio’s Homeland Security Advisory Council. He has served extensively as a consultant on criminal justice issues to various organizations and state governments. Stickrath received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from The Ohio State University and his JD from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, and in 2011 received the university’s “Distinguished Service Award."
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Secretary John Wetzel
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, PA
John Wetzel was appointed Secretary of Corrections for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections in January 2011 by then-Governor Tom Corbett and was reappointed by Governor Tom Wolf in January 2015. Wetzel has presided over the first prison population reduction in
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Pennsylvania in more than four decades, a restructuring of the community corrections and mental health systems, and a re-engineering of internal processes to yield a more efficient program delivery. He has nearly 30 years of experience in the corrections field, including as a corrections officer, treatment counselor, warden, and training academy director. He is a member of the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections, which is focused on reducing prison populations. He is also a member of Harvard’s Executive Session on Community Corrections, which is a joint project of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and the National Institute of Justice that works to shape the future of community corrections policy in the United States. He is a graduate of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and, in May 2016, was presented with an honorary doctorate degree by the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
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Justice Joseph A. Zayas
Supreme Court Appellate Division, NY
Joseph A. Zayas was appointed to the 2nd Department of the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division in 2021. He is also a judge for the New York Supreme Court in Queens County, New York (11th Judicial District). Previously, he
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served as judge of the Court of Claims, acting supreme court justice, and judge of the Criminal Court of the City of New York, presiding over drug treatment court, mental health court, and youth court. Earlier in his career, Justice Zayas served as the principal law clerk for supreme court Justice Rolando T. Acosta at the Harlem Community Justice Center, a multi-jurisdictional, problem-solving court serving the communities of East and Central Harlem. He is a frequent lecturer and presenter on legal and judicial subjects, including drug, mental health, and youth courts, and conducts seminars for new judges. Justice Zayas received his bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from Fordham University’s College at Lincoln Center and his JD from Columbia University School of Law, where he was a Charles Evan Hughes Fellow.
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