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21st Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference

The Breakers, Palm Beach, FL

Agenda Venue Scholarships

Registration Closed – Sign-up to Join Conference Waiting List

Due to the overwhelming interest in this year’s State Criminal Justice Network (SCJN) Conference, we have reached our room capacity and must unfortunately close registration at this time. Please sign-up to join the conference waiting list by emailing your name to

Program Summary:

Every year, NACDL brings together advocates from around the country for its Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference. This year’s conference will be held as a free, in-person conference, August 11-12, 2022, in Palm Beach, FL at The Breakers Palm Beach.
This conference offers participants the opportunity to hear from experts on a range of state criminal justice reform issues and to share strategies for reform. Conference speakers and participants include practitioners, advocates, and individuals directly affected by the criminal legal system, providing stakeholders who seek reforms that will have a lasting impact on their communities with valuable insight on existing and promising reform efforts nationwide.
We look forward to your participation in this year’s conference!

This program is FREE, but registration is required. No CLE credits are being offered for this program. 

Please direct any questions to Monica L. Reid, NACDL’s Senior Director of Advocacy, at

In order to ensure the highest level of safety for our attendees, NACDL will be implementing the following safety measures at the conference:

  1. All participants will need to self-certify they have received the full dosage of a vaccine for COVID-19 prior to attending.
  2. While no longer required, all attendees are encouraged to wear a mask in public indoor settings. NACDL will have masks available for all participants at the registration desk, and signs will be displayed as a reminder to keep masks on at all times (except when eating or drinking). 
  3. Hand sanitizer stations are located throughout the hotel property, including at the entrance to all meeting rooms. 
  4. The seminar room will be arranged with socially distanced tables/chairs to the best of our ability.


The program agenda and faculty are subject to change.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022
3:30 pm Check-in, Exhibits & Exhibit Hall Open
Thursday, August 11, 2022
7:00 am Check-in, Exhibits & Continental Breakfast
8:00 am Networking
8:30 am Welcoming Remarks – Martín Sabelli, President, NACDL & Monica L. Reid, Senior Director of Advocacy, NACDL  
8:50 am

Setting the Stage: A Discussion on the Current State of Criminal Justice Reform   

Movements to reform flaws in the criminal legal system have resulted in a growing number of states passing vital, bipartisan measures related to pretrial and bail, criminal discovery, policing, sentencing, and other reforms to help curb mass incarceration. However, opponents of reform have used the 2020 uptick in homicides to stoke fear around recent policy changes and push regressive proposals that would walk back a move toward greater justice, equality, and authentic safety in communities across the country. Join us for this opening panel discussion, as we set the stage for the 21st Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference, discussing the current climate, and sharing strategies on how to combat the narrative that blames the rise of certain crimes on recent criminal justice reforms. 



  • Insha Rahman, Vice President, Advocacy & Partnerships, Vera Institute of Justice 

  • Louis L. Reed, Senior Advisor, REFORM Alliance 

  • Rabiah Burks, Vice President, Communications and Team Building, National Legal Aid & Defender Association 

  • Ames Grawert, Senior Counsel, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law 

10:30 am Refreshment Break 
10:50 am

Who Keeps Us Safe? Advancing Police Reform Amidst Calls for More Police  

Over the past few years, amid continued police violence and the killing of unarmed Black people, we have seen renewed calls for racial justice and systemic police reform, with many states having considered legislation to address some aspect of policing, including issues around accountability and oversight, limiting the use of neck restraints and no-knock warrants, instituting use of force standards, requiring a duty to intervene, mandating data collection around police interactions, requiring increased use of police body cameras and more. However, as we find ourselves in a climate where calls for more police are growing louder and decision makers are continuing to dispatch more police in the name of increasing safety and reducing crime, where does that leave earlier efforts at police reform? How do we continue to hold police accountable for misconduct and incidents of police violence?  

Moderator: Margaret Ringler, Project Coordinator, Full Disclosure Project, NACDL    


  • Roxanne (Rox) Anderson, REP (Relationships Evolving Possibilities) 

  • Deborah Katz Levi, Director of Special Litigation - Baltimore City, Maryland Office of the Public Defender 

  • Carlton Mayers, II, Founder, Owner, and Head Consultant of Mayers Strategic Solutions, LLC 

11:55 am

Preventing Violence by Investing in Communities  

Research has consistently demonstrated that substantial, sustained investment in communities improves public safety. A New York Times Article cites a recent survey of criminal justice experts in which 85 percent stated that increasing spending on social services, such as housing, health and education would improve public safety. The article further highlights how a randomized trial of street lighting in New York City reduced outdoor, nighttime index crimes by 36 percent and how cleaning up vacant lots in Philadelphia corresponded to a 29 percent reduction in gun violence. Investment in the work of individuals and groups already building safety in their neighborhoods through community-based organizations and local violence prevention programs is also critical. This panel will explore how investing in resources which allow individuals to grow and thrive in their communities is a more effective public safety strategy than continuing to expand the massive police and surveillance apparatus in communities most impacted by violence. 

Moderator: Amber Akemi Piatt, Health Instead of Punishment Program Director, Human Impact Partners 


  • Andrea James, Founder and Executive Director, The National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls 

  • Nancy Parker, Managing Attorney for Movement Lawyering, Detroit Justice Center 

  • Thea Sebastian, Director of Policy, Civil Rights Corps

12:55 pm Lunch break on your own
2:00 pm

Longer Sentences Won’t Create More Safety: Confronting Extreme Sentences 

Harsh, inflexible sentences do not deter crime or make our communities safer. Such sentencing laws disproportionately affect communities of color and have contributed greatly to the explosive increase in the U.S. prison population over the past three decades. Advocates have called for and states have been making strides to tackle the issue of extreme sentences, elevating proposals such as second look, compassionate release and other reforms that seek to provide a second chance for individuals who are currently incarcerated. However, as we find ourselves dealing with a narrative that seeks to blame the 2020 uptick in homicides on criminal justice reform, how do we continue to make advancements to fight extreme sentences? This panel will focus on confronting extreme sentences as a reflexive policy response to violence and harm. 

Moderator: Alexandra Harrington, Associate Professor of Law; Director, Criminal Justice Advocacy Clinic, University of Buffalo School of Law 


  • David Singleton, Executive Director, Ohio Justice Center 

  • L.B. Eisen, Director, Justice Program, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law 

  • Jose Hamza Saldana, Director, Release Aging People in Prison (RAPP) 

3:05 pm

Innocent Until Proven Guilty: How Pretrial Decisions Can Impede Justice  

Despite assurances that, “[I]n our society liberty is the norm, and detention prior to trial . . . the carefully limited exception,” over 75 percent of those detained in local jails have not been convicted of a crime.  Two-thirds of state pretrial populations are held for non-violent offenses, and the racial disparities which plague the criminal legal system are especially pronounced in pretrial decisions. With pretrial decisions having substantial, long-term case impacts, the uses and abuses of pretrial detention erode the presumption of innocence and destroy any sense of justice. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the deadly consequences of widespread pretrial incarceration, prompting a renewed call and sense of urgency for releasing individuals detained pretrial. Join this panel to hear from advocates from around the country who are working to advance pretrial reform.  

Moderator: Jasmine Heiss, Project Director, In Our Backyards, Vera Institute of Justice 


  • Kanya Bennett, Managing Director for Government Affairs, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights 

  • Elizer Darris, Co-Executive Director, Minnesota Freedom Fund 

  • Sharlyn Grace, Senior Policy Advisor, Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender 

4:10 pm

Diversion: Reducing Collateral Consequences and Recidivism with Alternative Resolutions 

There is growing recognition of the need to limit and reduce the potential for individuals to enter the criminal legal system. One avenue for this is through pretrial diversion, as an alternative resolution to a criminal case where the individual can avoid a criminal conviction, and as a result, avoid the worst possible criminal penalties associated with a charge and the collateral consequences that follow a conviction. Research overwhelmingly shows that individuals who are diverted away from the criminal legal system are less likely to reoffend. According to a recent study of Texas’ deferred adjudication program, reconvictions decreased by about 75 percent. Data from the study also suggested an increased likelihood of employment for participating individuals, demonstrating that diversion is demonstrably more effective at reducing recidivism rates, and as a result, protecting public safety. This panel will highlight similar research demonstrating the effectiveness of pretrial diversion while examining programs around the country.  

Moderator: Melissa Labriola, Senior Social Behavioral Scientist, RAND Corporation 


  • Raul Ayala, Collaborative Courts Supervising Attorney, Deputy Federal Public Defender, Office of the Federal Public Defender, Central District of California, Los Angeles 

  • Juwan Bennett, Assistant Professor, Temple University, Department of Criminal Justice 

  • Tiffany Williams Roberts, Public Policy Director Southern Center for Human Rights 

6:00 pm

Social Networking Event 

Join your fellow conference attendees at The Ben West Palm Hotel, 251 N. Narcissus Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL, 33401. Light appetizers and drinks will be available. 

Friday, August 12, 2022
7:00 am Check-in, Exhibits & Continental Breakfast
8:00 am Networking
8:30 am Welcoming Remarks – Martín Sabelli, President, NACDL & Monica L. Reid, Senior Director of Advocacy, NACDL 
8:45 am

Presentation of Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award  

Monica L. Reid, Senior Director of Advocacy, NACDL & Michael Iacopino, Senior Partner, Brennan Lenehan and Chair of State Legislative Affairs Committee, NACDL  

9:10 am

Exploring the Evidence: The Truth About Drug Overdose Homicide Laws 

As opioid-related deaths continue to devastate communities across the country, there is a growing number of law enforcement agencies and prosecutors who are choosing to treat these accidental overdose deaths as homicides. According to a 2017 report by Drug Policy Alliance, individuals charged with or prosecuted for drug-induced homicide increased by over 300 percent in six years, from 363 reported prosecutions in 2011 to 1,178 in 2016. According to the Health in Justice Action Lab, by 2019, there were 26 new & expanded laws that recast overdose as homicide, murder, or manslaughter. No systematic empirical evidence exists that these laws reduce the distribution of illegal drugs. This panel will explore the ineffectiveness and detrimental harms of drug-induced homicide laws, as well as public health approaches to addressing the overdose crisis and how to advocate for these reforms. 

Moderator: Jeremiah Goulka, Senior Fellow and Director of Justice Policy, Health in Justice Action Lab at Northeastern University School of Law 


  • Morgan Godvin, Narrative Justice Fellow, Health in Justice Action Lab at Northeastern University School of Law, and Engagement Editor of American Prison Newspapers, JSTOR Daily 

  • Sam Rivera, Executive Director, Washington Heights CORNER Project 

  • Taleed El-Sabawi, Research Scholar, Addiction and Public Policy Initiative at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health, Georgetown Law

10:15 am Refreshment Break
10:35 am

Politics and Punishment: What’s Wrong with How We Deal with Sex Offenses  

Restrictions and collateral consequences on individuals convicted of a sex offense are too often the result of knee-jerk politics rather than careful consideration of the efficacy, appropriate scope and potential negative consequences. This includes sex offense registries, residency restrictions and other collateral consequences that often make communities less safe and impede the support needed for successful reentry. This panel will discuss the ineffectiveness of these registries   in achieving any legitimate public safety goal and explore the unintended adverse consequences that they often produce. 

Moderator: Emily Horowitz, Professor & Chair, Department of Sociology & Criminal Justice, St. Francis College 


  • Christopher Reid 

  • Lisa Kessler-Peters, MS ABA, Author, Advocate, Pastor 

  • Danielle Bailey, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, The University of Texas at Tyler  

11:40 pm

Rehabilitation Through Reconciliation: The Role of Restorative Justice in Transforming the Criminal Legal System  

Restorative Justice is defined as a criminal justice process which focuses on rehabilitation through reconciliation with victims and the community at large, collectively deciding how to deal with the aftermath of an offense. Learn about the restorative justice process, research, and programs from around the country.  

 Moderator: Avery Arrington, Assistant Director, Training Division, National Center on Restorative Justice  


  • Abigail Crocker, Director of Research, National Center on Restorative Justice 

  • Cymone Fuller, Director, Restorative Justice Project, Impact Justice 

12:40 pm Lunch break on your own
1:45 pm

Kids in the Criminal Legal System: Transforming the Youth Justice Landscape  

Research has shown that justice-involved youth experience high rates of adverse childhood experiences. Advocates have continued to call for trauma-informed reforms, including eliminating life and de facto life without parole sentences for children, allowing judges to depart from mandatory minimum sentences, establishing trauma-informed guidelines for sentencing youth in adult court, establishing a minimum age for juvenile court jurisdiction and limiting the jurisdiction of criminal courts over children, prohibiting placement of children in adult correctional facilities, and granting access to legal counsel at the point of arrest, to name a few. Hear from youth justice advocates on the impacts of adverse childhood experiences and how to effectively advocate for needed policy changes.   

Moderator: Emily Virgin, Policy Counsel, Human Rights for Kids 


  • David Garlock, Faith, Community & Legislative Advocate 

  • Eric Alexander, Senior Advocate, The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth 

  • Tracey Tucker, Co-Executive Director, National Juvenile Justice Network 


The Breakers
1 S County Rd.
Palm Beach, FL 33480

Phone Reservations: 1-888-BREAKERS (273-2537)
Online Reservations
Group rate: $249 - SOLD OUT  (Expires July 19, 2022). Please mention NACDL Annual Meeting to receive applicable discount rate. 
Rooms/discounted group rates are not guaranteed if the block has been filled prior to the cut-off date. 


The Ben, Autograph Collection
251 N Narcissus Ave,  West Palm Beach, FL 33401
(1.7 miles away)
Online Reservations: 
Book your group rate for NACDL Annual Meeting
Group rate: $279 plus tax (Expires July 12, 2022). 
Rooms/discounted group rates are not guaranteed if the block has been filled prior to the cut-off date.

The Brazilian Court
301 Australian Ave, Palm Beach, FL 334080
(1.2 miles away)
Phone Reservations:
 561-655-7740. Please mention NACDL to receive applicable doscount rate. Reservations must be cancelled at least 14 days prior to arrival date to avoid 1 night's room and tax charge. 
Group rate: $289 plus tax (Expires July 10, 2022). 
Rooms/discounted group rates are not guaranteed if the block has been filled prior to the cut-off date.

Canopy by Hilton West Palm Beach Downtown
380 Trinity Place, West Palm Beach, FL 33401
(2 miles away)
Online Reservations:
 NACDL 2022 - Canopy by Hilton West Palm Beach Downtown
Group rate: $195 plus tax (Expires July 10, 2022). 
Rooms/discounted group rates are not guaranteed if the block has been filled prior to the cut-off date.

Hilton West Palm Beach
600 Okeechobee Boulevard, West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Hilton West Palm Beach
(2.5 miles away)
Phone Reservations:
1-855-757-4985 or 561-231-6000
Online Reservations:
Group rate: $189 plus $28 urban destination fee plus tax (Expires July 10, 2022). Please mention group code ZNACDL to receive applicable disount rate. 
Rooms/discounted group rates are not guaranteed if the block has been filled prior to the cut-off date.

White Elephant Palm Beach
280 Sunset Avenue, Palm Beach, FL 33480
(0.5 miles away)

The Chesterfield Palm Beach
363 Cocoanut Row, Palm Beach, FL 33480
(0.9 miles away)

Hyatt Place West Palm Beach/Downtown
295 Lakeview Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33401
(1.3 miles away)


Free rides around West Palm/ Palm Beach 7 days a week!


SCJN Conference Scholarships

NACDL State Criminal Justice Network is pleased to offer limited scholarships to individuals interested in attending the 21st Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference, August 11-12, 2022, in Palm Beach, Florida. The scholarships can be used for expenses related to travel (coach air or train fare) and hotel accommodations. The scholarship application deadline is May 31, 2022. Scholarship awards will be administered through reimbursements. If a recipient is awarded a scholarship, all accommodations (both travel and hotel) must be purchased by the individual. Scholarship recipients must submit all receipts for reimbursement after the conference. If you are awarded a scholarship, more information will be provided including award amount and other important information.

Apply for SCJN Conference Scholarship 

Award Nominations

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 to positive changes to a state criminal legal system. The award is presented at the annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference. Nominations for the 2022 Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award must be submitted electronically by Friday, June 3, 2022 and sent to Nora Zimmerman at (subject line: Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award). Click here to view award nomination guidelines. 

Code of Conduct

NACDL endeavors to foster a working, learning, and social environment free of harassment, discrimination, intimidation, and insult. To that end, NACDL has adopted a Code of Conduct for Affiliated Persons that applies to all attendees and participants of any kind at all NACDL sponsored events.

Learn More