Adam Gelb

Adam Gelb

  • Director
  • Public Safety Performance Project,
  • The Pew Charitable Trusts


Adam Gelb directs Pew’s public safety performance project, which helps states advance policies and practices in adult and juvenile sentencing and corrections that protect public safety, hold offenders accountable, and control corrections costs.

As the project lead, Gelb oversees Pew’s assistance to states seeking a greater public safety return on their corrections spending. He also supervises a vigorous research portfolio that highlights strategies for reducing recidivism while cutting costs. Gelb speaks frequently with the media about national trends and state innovations, and regularly advises policy makers on implementation of practical, cost-effective policies.

Gelb has been involved in crime control and prevention issues for the past 30 years as a journalist, congressional aide, and senior state government official. He began his career as a reporter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and staffed the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee during negotiations and final passage of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. From 1995 to 2000, as policy director for the lieutenant governor of Maryland, Gelb was instrumental in developing several nationally recognized anti-crime initiatives. He served as executive director of the Georgia Sentencing Commission from 2001 to 2003. Before joining Pew, he was vice president for programs at the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse.

Gelb graduated from the University of Virginia and holds a master’s degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Recent Work

View All
  • Refocusing the Punishment Paradigm

    Any parent can tell you that timeouts, groundings, and other punishments only go so far in encouraging good behavior. If kids are scolded over and over again, the reprimands can lose their effect: Walls go up, and cooperation goes down. But throw in a few high-fives or thumbs-ups to recognize a nice job clearing the dishes or picking up after a baby sister, and attitudes may brighten—and... Read More

  • Voters in Louisiana and Oklahoma Strongly Favor Alternatives to Incarceration

    Discussions about criminal justice policy typically involve lawmakers, judges, corrections officials, prosecutors, defense attorneys, members of law enforcement, advocates, and criminologists, and their opinions are undoubtedly valuable as states deliberate about what works best. But what about the people whose families and communities are affected by these decisions? What do they have to say... Read More

  • Louisiana Adopts Landmark Criminal Justice Reforms

    Governor John Bel Edwards (D) signed a broadly bipartisan package of 10 bills June 15 that aims to reduce crime and incarceration by steering less serious offenders away from prison, strengthening alternatives to imprisonment, and clearing away barriers to success during re-entry. With these changes in sentencing and corrections laws, Louisiana is likely to shed its title of the most incarcerated... Read More