About CJRI

CJRI was launched at the Aspen Institute in 2019 by Dr. Douglas E. Wood, based in part on his years of work on criminal justice issues at the Ford Foundation.

CJRI believes that where true justice is realized, both safety and opportunity are defined and created by communities themselves, becoming free of the heavy weight of the criminal legal system. CJRI’s mission, then, is to amplify and promote policies and practices to transform the justice ecosystem and reduce mass incarceration and its harms to individuals and society. We do this at local and national levels through convening stakeholders and supporting collaborations, strengthening leadership, promoting use of data, increasing public awareness and changing the narrative around justice in the United States.

Our values and work are rooted in three core principles:

  1. To create justice, we must look beyond the ‘justice system’ to a justice ecosystem that also includes human and social systems, including health, education, workforce, housing and more.
  2. Community members and groups representing those most disproportionately impacted by the justice system must be a key part of any transformation process.
  3. We must focus on making change happen on the ground, in neighborhoods and regions where both practice and policy must combine to create just systems. These local developments then should influence and drive state and federal policy change.

Read more on the principles and values that underlie our work.

Our Team

Learn more about the whole CJRI team.

CJRI is fortunate to be guided by many of the luminaries of the criminal justice transformation movement in the United States. Meet the CJRI Advisory Council.


CJRI greatly appreciates the support of our current funders, without which our programs would not be possible:

    • Arnold Ventures
    • Ballmer Group
    • Bank of America Charitable Foundation
    • Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
    • Ford Foundation
    • The Michigan Justice Fund at The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
    • Slack

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