Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award

The NACDL Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award recognizes an individual or group whose exceptional efforts have led toward progressive reform of a state criminal justice system.

Past Recipients

2022 Pacific Juvenile Defender Center San Francisco, CA
2021 Illinois State Senator Robert J. Peters, Illinois State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr., and Illinois State Representative Justice Slaughter Springfield, IL
2020 Phil Cherner Denver, CO
2019 Jody Kent Lavy Washington, DC
2018 Second Chance Center  Aurora, CO
2017 Anthony Benedetti  Boston, MA
2016 Senator Gerald Malloy  Hartsville, SC
2015 Marissa McCall-Dodson  Atlanta, GA
2014 Maureen Cain  Denver, CO
2013 Peter Wagner  Northampton, MA
2012 Jennifer L. Zito  Meriden, CT
2011 Michael DiLauro  Warwick, RI

Nominate a Possible Recipient

The NACDL® Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award recognizes an individual or group whose exceptional efforts have led to positive changes to reform a state criminal justice system. The award is presented at the annual State Criminal Justice Network (SCJN) Conference. Check back in Spring 2023 for information on how to submit a nomination for the next Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award.

Nomination Guidelines 

Nominations may be made by any state affiliate, advocacy group, individual, or NACDL’s state legislative affairs director and shall be submitted in accordance with the guidelines and deadline and include such information as determined by the State Legislative Affairs Committee chairs.

Nomination information should include: 
  • The name, email, title, address and phone number of the nominated person/group;
  • The name, email, title, address and phone number of the nominating person/group;
  • A summary, submitted as a Word or PDF document not to exceed two (2) single-spaced pages, including:
    • The problems that exist(ed) in the relevant state criminal legal system;
    • The efforts made by the nominee to improve the system (e.g., coalitions formed, legislation proposed and passed, task forces created, litigation initiated);
    • A brief overview of the nominee’s career/organizational history, past involvement in state criminal justice reform;
    • The ways in which the nominee’s efforts embody NACDL’s mission and values;
    • How the nominee’s efforts have led to or set the groundwork for systemic change.

Supplementary materials — such as brochures, reports, or news articles — also may be included. Unlimited letters of support may be submitted.

Eligibility and Selection 

The recipient shall be selected by the members of the NACDL® State Legislative Affairs Committee.

It is not necessary that the nominee be a lawyer; non-lawyer advocates and reformers will be considered. We encourage the nomination of directly impacted individuals and organizations led by directly impacted individuals. The Chair and Vice Chair of the State Legislative Affairs Committee are not eligible to receive this award but may submit nominations. The award recipient must be present at the State Criminal Justice Network Conference.

 

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