Thursday, April 28, 2016

Major conservative investment in criminal-justice reform

Remarkable. Dallas businessman Doug Deason and the Charles Koch Foundation are teaming up to fund a criminal-justice reform center at SMU. Reported the Dallas News (4/26):
Tuesday in Dallas, Deason announced that he and his family’s foundation donated $3.5 million to Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law to create a legal institute that conducts innovative research and educational outreach efforts designed to promote criminal justice reform in Texas and beyond.

The Deason Family Criminal Justice Reform Center will conduct statistical and analytical studies ranging from pre-trial procedures, sentencing disparities and pre-trial diversion, abuses of asset seizure and forfeiture laws and wrongful convictions.

SMU Dedman Law Dean Jennifer Collins said the Deason gift combined with a matching $3.5 million contribution by the Charles Koch Foundation will fully fund the center, which will be located on the law school campus.

“We hope this center generates statistical research that is part of the national conversation about criminal justice reforms,” Collins said. “The plan is to bring in visiting faculty members who are experts and to get students involved in research and to generate course ideas that allow students to interact with the experts.”

“This tremendous opportunity is happening only because of Doug Deason’s passion for this issue and his passion for SMU,” she said.

Collins said the combined $7 million allows the law school to hire an executive director, an outreach director and additional faculty in the field.
In other news about reform investments, here's an item about Harris County's MacArthur grant and local efforts in Harris County (short of bail abolition or giving people lawyers at magistration, apparently) to reduce pretrial detention.


Anonymous said...

SMU still has a law school?

Ed Barajas said...

The "experts" remain clueless about the new justice paradigm that's been transforming the system for 20+ years. They keep promoting the same message to policymakers--basing their arguments on the need to address "mass/over incarceration."

And, based on this advice, policymakers keep trying to build better horse buggies by breeding stronger horses or producing more efficient buggies that use ball bearing rather than grease pack wheels, etc. All this while blissfully unaware that the system and citizens are moving toward the automobile.