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23rd Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference (2024)

Online - No CLE credits are being offered for this program

Agenda Register Online


Every year, NACDL brings together advocates from around the country for its annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference. This year, we are pleased to once again bring this event to you as a FREE, live virtual conference! We will offer participants an opportunity to hear from experts from around the country on a range of state criminal justice reform issues and network with like-minded advocates.

Conference speakers and participants include practitioners, advocates, and individuals directly affected by the criminal justice 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!


Wednesday, August 14

12:30pm ET / 9:30am PT
Introduction & Welcome
  • Christopher Wellborn, President (2024-25), NACDL
Report: “Justice for None: How Marsy’s Law Undermines the Criminal Legal System”
  • Ráchael Powers, Associate Professor, School of Criminal Justice, University of Cincinnati
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT
Reflecting on the Past Year and Envisioning the Year Ahead in State Criminal Justice Legislation

Join us for a panel discussion that delves into the pressing issues in state-level criminal justice reform. The panel will explore the latest trends, challenges, and breakthroughs in the realm of justice reform. Hear from leading experts who are at the forefront of these transformative changes. This is a unique opportunity to gain insights into the dynamic landscape of criminal justice reform and its impact on state policies.

  • Kanya Bennett (moderator), Managing Director of Government Affairs, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
  • Amanda Essex, Program Principal, Civil and Criminal Justice, National Conference Of State Legislatures
  • Marc Levin, Chief Policy Counsel, Council on Criminal Justice
  • Zoë Towns, Executive Director,
2:00pm ET / 11:00am PT
Voices of Reason and Reform: Shaping Public Opinion and Policy

As efforts to rectify the shortcomings in the criminal legal system have led to an increasing number of states enacting significant bipartisan laws, the justice reform movement has also encountered resistance. The rise in homicides in 2020 was exploited to instill fear about recent policy modifications and to promote backward-looking proposals that would reverse the progress towards enhanced justice, equality, and genuine safety. Join this panel and hear advocates discuss the art of effective communication around criminal justice reform.

  • Jonathan Hutson (moderator), Senior Director for Public Affairs and Communications, NACDL
  • Ellen Flenniken, Deputy Director, ACLU Justice Division
  • Ames Grawert, Senior Counsel, John L. Neu Justice Counsel, Brennan Center for Justice
  • Insha Rahman, Vice President, Advocacy & Partnerships and Director of Vera Action, Vera Institute of Justice


Thursday, August 15

12:30pm ET / 9:30am PT
  • Lisa Wayne, Executive Director, NACDL
Reframing the Discourse: Shifting Perspectives in Sex Offense Policy and Legislation

Join us for an enlightening panel discussion focusing on the critical issues in criminal justice reform pertaining to sex offenses. Our panel of experts will delve into the complexities, controversies, and recent developments in this vital area of reform.

  • Galen Baughman (moderator), Founder, Just Future Project
  • Alex Mayo, Executive Director, WA Voices
  • Amir Sadeghi, Policy and Advocacy Manager, The Center for HIV Law and Policy
  • Walesiah S. Wilson, Client Services Advocate, Southern Center for Human Rights; Chair, Board of Director, Restore Georgia
1:30pm ET / 10:30am PT
Presentation of Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award
  • Michael Iacopino, Senior Partner, Brennan Lenehan and Chair of State Legislative Affairs Committee, NACDL
1:45pm ET / 10:45am PT
Statutory Innovations for Justice-Involved Veterans

Brock Hunter will provide a brief historical context for the challenges, particularly invisible injuries, facing contemporary Justice-Involved Veterans (JIVs); best practices for engaging with JIV defendants; current policy landscape to include Veterans Treatment Courts, post-conviction statutory schemes, and pre-trial diversion statutes that integrate rehabilitative best practices, with particular emphasis on the Veterans Justice Commission's model policy, the Veterans Justice Act.

  • Brock Hunter, Brock D. Hunter, P.A.


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.

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