President & CEO
Council on Criminal Justice
Throughout his 33-year career as a journalist, congressional aide, senior state government official, and nonprofit executive, Adam Gelb has worked towards an unbiased and effective criminal justice system.
As a reporter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Gelb covered policing and the late-1980’s drug war at his first job out of the University of Virginia before earning a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He staffed the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee during negotiations and final passage of the landmark 1994 federal crime bill. From 1995 to 2000, as policy director for the lieutenant governor of Maryland, Gelb established several initiatives that focused on comprehensive crime control and prevention efforts on behalf of at-risk people and neighborhoods.
From 2001 to 2003, he served as executive director of the Georgia Sentencing Commission before supporting youth reentry and methamphetamine control as vice-president of programs at Georgia Council on Substance Abuse. In 2006, Gelb and the Pew Charitable Trusts began a twelve-year collaboration on juvenile and criminal justice reform initiatives. Their groundbreaking national research documented the high cost/low return on public safety of sentencing and corrections policies. As a result, 35 states develop, adopt, and implement increasingly comprehensive and impactful reforms.
Today, as founder and president/CEO of the Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ), Adam can be found addressing criminal justice trends and innovations at all levels of government. He advises legislators on practical, cost-effective, evidence-based policies that respect the criminal justice system’s principles and precedents. An invitational membership organization and nonpartisan think tank, CCJ is dedicated to building policies and practices that enhance safety and justice for all.