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 28 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 WorkView All
Voters’ top priority is keeping communities safe, but large majorities also believe that the nation imprisons too many people for too long. A body of national- and state-level public opinion research dating to 2010 has found overwhelming support across political parties, regions, ages, genders, and racial/ethnic groups for policy changes that shift nonviolent offenders from prison to... Read More
Since 2006, Pew has conducted national and state research chronicling the expansion of the American corrections system and the policies and practices that fueled the growth. The reports in this collection document the high cost to taxpayers and the low public safety returns of incarcerating many lower-level offenders. They also establish frameworks for reducing recidivism, moderating the... Read More
Most criminal justice research focuses on the effectiveness of programs that seek to reduce recidivism by changing offender attitudes and behavior. Pew’s research, in contrast, has targeted the laws and practices that control who goes to prison and for how long. The publications in this collection evaluate policies that have been frequent components of state reforms and identify... Read More