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 25 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

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  • Federal Drug Sentencing Laws Bring High Cost, Low Return

    More than 95,000 federal prisoners are serving time for drug-related offenses—up from fewer than 5,000 in1980.1 Changes in drug crime patterns and law enforcement practices played a role in this growth, but federal sentencing laws enacted during the 1980s and 1990s also have required more drug offenders to go to prison— and stay there much longer—than three decades ago.2 (See... Read More

  • Victims' Voices for Reform

    In a growing number of states, crime victims and survivors are actively participating in the development of sentencing and corrections policies and funding decisions to help prevent others from being victimized. The reforms, many of which are part of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI), use data-driven strategies to hold offenders accountable, control costs, and protect public safety. In... Read More

  • Sheriffs Back Effective Adult and Juvenile Sentencing and Corrections Policies

    The National Sheriffs Association (NSA) has adopted two resolutions to support the use of data-driven policies in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. The organization, which represents more than 3,000 sheriffs in all 50 states, endorsed reforms that prioritize costly incarceration for serious offenders while expanding alternatives for lower-level offenders. Both resolutions are aimed at... Read More

Media Contact

Darienne Gutierrez

Senior Associate, Communications