Expert Profile

Adam Gelb

Director, Public Safety Performance Project
The Pew Charitable Trusts

Adam Gelb is director of the 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 he 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.

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Reports & Publications

April 12, 2011

State of Recidivism: The Revolving Door of America's Prisons

State of Recidivism: The Revolving Door of America’s Prisons, a new report by the Pew Center on the States, finds that despite massive increases in state spending on prisons, America’s national recidivism rate is stubbornly high, with more than four in 10 offenders returned to state prison within three years of their release.

March 16, 2010

Prison Count 2010: State Population Declines for the First Time in 38 Years

A new survey from Pew Center on the States finds that as of January 2010, there were 1,404,053 persons under the jurisdiction of state prison authorities, 4,777 fewer than on December 31, 2008.  This marks the first year-to-year drop in the nation’s state prison population since 1972.

February 28, 2008

One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008

According to a new report released by the Pew Center on the States’ Public Safety Performance Project, for the first time in history more than one in every 100 adults in America are in jail or prison—a fact that significantly impacts state budgets without delivering a clear return on public safety.

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News Room

May 4, 2012

Deal Signs Bill Revamping Many Criminal Sentences

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quotes Adam Gelb, director of Pew's Public Safety Performance Project at Pew Center on the States, on the bipartisan consensus behind the new Georgia sentencing reform law designed to "make communities safer and curb runaway corrections spending."

April 14, 2011

More than 40 Percent of Ex-cons Return to Prison

Adam Gelb, director of the Public Safety Performance Project for the Pew Center on the States, was interviewed in a CBS News piece on the importance of reducing the recidivism rate.

 

April 12, 2011

Pew Finds Four in 10 Offenders Return to Prison Within Three Years

State of Recidivism: The Revolving Door of America’s Prisons, a new report by the Pew Center on the States, finds that despite massive increases in state spending on prisons, America’s national recidivism rate is stubbornly high, with more than four in 10 offenders returned to state prison within three years of their release.

February 15, 2011

Budget Crunch Forces A New Approach To Prisons

Adam Gelb, director of the Public Safety Performance Project for the Pew Center on the States was interviewed in segment on NPR's Morning Edition about the impact of prisons on the budget woes facing the states.

February 15, 2011

Testimony: Adam Gelb to the Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies.

On Friday, February 11, 2011, Adam Gelb, director of Public Safety Performance Project of The Pew Center on the States delivered testimony in front of the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies. The following is a transcript of this testimony.

 

June 9, 2010

Prison Closures Put Workers in a Jam

Zachary Barr of American Public Media's Marketplace reports on the impact that the drop in prison populations and prison closings have had on towns in America. Adam Gelb, Director of Pew Center on the States' Public Safety Performance Project is interviewed for the piece.

May 12, 2010

Testimony of Adam Gelb to U.S. House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security

Adam Gelb, director of the Public Safety Performance Project for the Pew Center on the States, testified on Tuesday, May 11 before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. He discussed the work of Justice Reinvestment and Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) program as Congress considers federal strategies to reduce recidivism.

 

March 17, 2010

Prison Population Is Shrinking In Most States

NPR host Michel Martin speaks with Adam Gelb, director of the Pew Center on the States' Public Safety Performance about the drop in prison population detailed in the survey Prison Count 2010.

July 13, 2009

States Seek Less Costly Substitutes For Prison

Cash-strapped states are increasingly turning to alternative sentencing methods and to streamlined probation and parole as a way to keep low-level offenders out of prison and in their communities.

March 2, 2009

Cost of Locking Up Americans Too High: Pew Study

One in every 31 U.S. adults is in the corrections system, which includes jail, prison, probation and supervision, more than double the rate of a quarter century ago, according to a report released on Monday by the Pew Center on the States.

March 2, 2009

States Urged to Improve Probation, Parole Programs

The number of offenders on parole and probation across the United States has surged past 5 million, complicating the challenges for fiscally ailing states as they try to curb corrections costs without jeopardizing public safety, according to a new report by the Pew Center on the States Public Safety Performance Project.

March 2, 2009

One in 31 U.S. Adults are Behind Bars, on Parole or Probation

Pew Report Finds States Can Cut Prison Spending, Improve Public Safety by Boosting Support for Community Corrections

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Events & Appearances

July 20, 2009

2009 Governmental Research Association Annual Policy Conference

Washington, DC

This year’s conference will draw from the tremendous knowledge and talent available in Washington, including presenters from government, think tanks, and associations, focusing on the economy, healthcare, criminal justice, infrastructure, the 2010 Census, and more.

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