With 18 policy analysts, researchers, and law experts working across the nation, Right on Crime has advocated for proven reforms in 38 states. We’ve helped state legislatures pass comprehensive juvenile justice reform bills, overhaul civil asset forfeiture laws, establish oversight committees to ensure results and properly manage taxpayers’ money, close prisons, and divert savings back to the taxpayers and to recidivism-reducing programs.
Right on Crime insists that public safety policies, as any government service, should be evaluated on whether they produce the best possible results at the lowest possible cost. In contradiction to that principle, until recently the criminal justice system had expanded to become the second-fastest growing area of state budgets—trailing only Medicaid.
We demand cost-effective approaches that also enhance public safety. We want a prison system that incapacitates dangerous offenders and career criminals but which is not used in such a way that makes nonviolent, low-risk offenders a greater risk to the public upon release than before they entered.
A well-functioning criminal justice system enforces order and respect for every person’s right to property and life, and ensures that liberty does not lead to license. Right on Crime believes the criminal justice system should conform tothe following principles.
Brett L. Tolman is Executive Director of Right on Crime.
An attorney and accomplished author on legal and public policy issues, Levin began the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s criminal justice program in 2005 and in 2010 developed the concept for its Right on Crime initiative for which he currently serves as Senior Advisor.
This work has contributed to nationally praised policy changes that have been followed by dramatic declines in crime and incarceration in Texas .Building on this success, in 2010, Levin developed the concept for the Right on Crime initiative, which has become the national clearinghouse for conservative criminal justice reforms. In 2014, Levin was named one of the “Politico 50” in the magazine’s annual “list of thinkers, doers, and dreamers who really matter in this age of gridlock and dysfunction.”
Levin, who in 2020 became Chief Policy Counsel at the Council on Criminal Justice, also serves on the National Association of Drug Court Professionals Board of Directors and the Urban Rural Action Board of Advisors. He has testified on criminal justice policy on four occasions before Congress and before numerous state legislatures. He also has met with leaders such as U.S. Presidents. U.S., Speakers of the House, and the Justice Committee of the United Kingdom Parliament to share his ideas on criminal justice reform. In 2007, he was honored in a resolution unanimously passed by the Texas House of Representatives that stated, “Mr. Levin’s intellect is unparalleled and his research is impeccable.”
Since 2005, Levin has published dozens of TPPF/Right on Crime policy papers on topics such as sentencing, probation, parole, reentry, and overcriminalization which are available on the TPPF website. Levin’s articles on law and public policy have been featured in news and scholarly publications such as the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Federal Sentencing Reporter, and USA Today.
In 1999, Levin graduated with honors from the University of Texas with a B.A. in Plan II Honors and Government and in 2002 received his J.D. with honors from the University of Texas School of Law. Levin served as a law clerk to Judge Will Garwood on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and Staff Attorney at the Texas Supreme Court.
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Cohen graduated with a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Bowling Green State University. He went on to complete an M.S. degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati, where he also recently completed his Ph.D. dissertation on the long-term costs and outcomes associated with correctional programming. His academic work can be found in Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management and the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Theoretical Criminology and The Oxford Handbook on Police and Policing, and has scholarly articles currently under review. He has presented several papers to the American Society of Criminology, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and the American Evaluation Association on the implementation and outcomes of various criminal justice policy issues.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Cohen was a research associate with University of Cincinnati’s Institute of Crime Science. He also taught classes in statistics, research methods, criminal procedure, and corrections.
Prior to coming to Right on Crime, she served at the U.S. Department of State on the Secretary’s Policy Planning Staff. Espinosa was previously at the Texas Public Policy Foundation as its Director of Communications. Additionally, Espinosa was the Deputy Director of Communications at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) and Communications Director at the American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand (AMCHAM Thailand).Espinosa also spent nearly a decade on Capitol Hill, where she worked for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, House Press Gallery, and as press secretary for a U.S. Senator. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from the George Washington University and herMaster of Science in Management from Excelsior College.
John has been widely recognized for his professional advocacy and was previously certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a criminal trial attorney. He has tried complex jury trials to verdict and received numerous professional achievement awards and accolades.
John’s reentry work has been recognized by President Donald J. Trump, and he works with the public and private sector to build partnerships designed to lead to better employment outcomes and safer communities. John’s work began in New Jersey, where he helped the Christie Administration and five former Governors implement effective, evidence-based reentry services. John designed New Jersey’s nationally recognized legal program, combining staff lawyers with approximately 70 pro bono lawyers to help the reentry community clear old tickets and warrants and restore drivers licenses that lead to jobs. John’s lived experience on all sides of the criminal justice system makes him a credible spokesperson. His leadership in the business community was recognized in 2016 when NJBIZ named him one of New Jersey’s “Top 40 Under 40.” He is a regular speaker on criminal justice, healthcare and workforce development, and helps cities, states, and the federal government to optimize reentry systems.
His work for the Foundation has focused primarily on criminal justice reform topics, particularly civil forfeiture, prison reform and justice reinvestment, mens rea reform, occupational licensing, and various law enforcement and privacy issues. He’s also written about federal corporate subsidies, school choice, and gun rights.
Haugen is a graduate of Eastern Washington University, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with Pre-Medicine Option, and a minor in Chemistry. He also holds an Associate of Arts degree in General Studies from North Idaho College. At EWU, he participated in academic research in a molecular microbiology laboratory for two years, investigating genetic virulence factors and pathophysiology in microbes. In 2011, he presented his research before faculty and peers at the Student Research and Creative Works Symposium in Cheney, WA.
His writing has appeared in National Review, The Hill, Townhall, Washington Examiner, Dallas Morning News, El Paso Times, TribTalk, Redstate, Ricochet, and Breitbart Texas.
Kurt became a signatory for Right on Crime in early 2016 and recently more fully joined the reform movement, promoting Right on Crime’s policies in the State Houses of Arizona and New Mexico. He has nearly 24 years of criminal law and Constitutional litigation experience. As a former Deputy Maricopa County Attorney and Assistant United States Attorney, Kurt has conducted literally hundreds of felony jury trials and lead investigations of criminal conduct ranging from homicide and capital cases to complex white collar matters. Formerly, as a member of the Department of Justice, Kurt earned the Director’s Award, the highest honor bestowed upon Department of Justice lawyers, and has twice received the Federal Bureau of Investigation Director’s Award for his tireless efforts on behalf of FBI-conducted investigations. Since 2008 he has operated his own practice defending the accused in criminal matters of all varieties also ranging from homicide to white collar.
Scott Peyton is the Louisiana state director for Right on Crime. He has over 12 years of work experience with the State of Louisiana: first as a child welfare specialist, then as a juvenile probation and parole officer. Prior to joining Right on Crime, he worked in adult probation and parole as a specialist supervising violent offender caseloads. Peyton has spent time as both a volunteer and reserve deputy sheriff, as well as providing as-needed support to Elayn Hunt Correctional Center working as a correctional officer. As a former instructor with Peace Officer Standards and Training certification, he taught at the Probation and Parole Police Academy. Peyton has witnessed firsthand the need for criminal justice reform, the impacts of rehabilitation and re-entry programs, and the inner workings of the Louisiana Probation and Parole system.
Peyton graduated from Louisiana State University at Shreveport with a Master’s in nonprofit administration and from the University of Southwestern Louisiana with a BS in criminal justice. Peyton served in the Louisiana National Guard before being honorably discharged. He is an ordained deacon in the Catholic church and resides in Louisiana with his wife and six children.
Chelsea has been immersed in Florida politics for the past decade, and advocated on behalf of various clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies, trade associations, non-profits, to local governments. More specifically to justice reform she represented the largest and oldest private provider for re-entry programming in the state of Florida. She helped start two smart justice coalitions, and she’s represented a variety of mental and behavioral health stakeholders.
Chelsea is based in Tallahassee where she lives with her husband and two children.
After receiving an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois and a law degree from Marquette University, Tom entered the legal field. Working in offices in Kewaunee and Sheboygan Counties, Tom’s practice focused primarily on criminal defense, juvenile, and mental health law. Switching to the world of policy, Tom started as a legislative aide to a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly, followed by a State Senator, and for a brief time Governor Scott Walker before joining Right on Crime on 2017.
Julie is a graduate of Marshall University and of Regent University School of Law. She also attended Georgetown Law Center as a visiting student. While in law school, she clerked on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Julie served four years at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. After a few years in private practice as a civil defense litigator, Julie returned to public service and began her work in the Office of the West Virginia Attorney General where she primarily served as an appellate advocate for the State of West Virginia and as legislative counsel to the Attorney General.
DeRoche serves as the Senior Vice President of Advocacy & Public Policy, Prison Fellowship. He is the former Speaker of the House in Michigan. DeRoche is a frequent contributor to the growing national discussion on criminal justice reform, addiction and recovery. DeRoche is in long-term recovery for his own addictions and is the author of the memoir “Highly Functional: A Collision of Addiction, Justice & Grace.”
Under DeRoche’s leadership, Prison Fellowship’s advocacy has developed a group of federal and state elected officials known as the Faith & Justice Fellowship to advocate for values-based justice reform. This group includes United States Senators, Congressmen, state legislators and a Governor. DeRoche is the co-author of Prison Fellowship’s small group study guide and trade book titled “Outrageous Justice” that is being distributed throughout American churches. DeRoche serves as an Advisory Board Member to the Vera Institute for their “Reimagining Prison” project. He is a former member of the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Prison Reform created by Congress.
DeRoche is a frequent author and contributor to news, media and opinion pieces. DeRoche has his bachelor’s degree in Finance from Central Michigan University.
He is a former California Assemblyman and the author of When Prisoners Return. Nolan understands the inside of a prison well, having served 29 months in federal custody after pleading guilty to a charge of racketeering. He earned a B.A. and a J.D. from the University of Southern California.
Prior to joining Right on Crime, Iveta worked at Management Systems International assisting home and field staff with safety and security matters and providing crisis management and logistical support. She also worked in research at American University and conducted investigative, security, and legal research at TD International. In addition to her research background, Iveta has also experience in higher education, specifically working with international students both at Plymouth State University and Harvard University. Iveta can speak Slovak, Czech, Russian, and Spanish and has limited proficiency in French and Turkish. Iveta cares about security and justice and she is bringing her international perspective and diverse experience to address different policy issues and advance the goals of Right on Crime. Iveta received her Master’s degree in Global Governance, Policy, and Security from American University and Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Plymouth State University. During her studies, her research often focused on a variety of policy areas including criminal justice challenges.
After graduating from Fordham Law, Andrew clerked in Superior Court New Jersey Criminal Division, where he witnessed first-hand many of the shortcomings of the justice system that Right on Crime seeks to address. Andrew spent several years litigating high stakes commercial cases for both plaintiffs and defendants in fast paced New York City, before returning to his hometown of Dallas, Texas. There, he returned to SMU and completed a biology major to add to his political science degree. He utilized his knowledge of such diverse fields to effectively advocate for clients whose issues ranged from bankruptcy (Chapters 7 and 11) to pharmaceuticals and other health care/product liability and commercial litigation. This combination of legal experience and broad academic background allows Andrew to bring well-rounded perspectives and capabilities to bear on the critical and often complex challenges present in criminal justice reform. Andrew is fluent in Farsi (Persian). In his free time, Andrew enjoys hiking, bicycling, and playing tennis.
Lacey comes to Right on Crime and the S3C Project from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). During her time at ALEC, Lacey served in a few roles including directing the Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force, managing the policy department, and coordinating events for the organization. Before ALEC, she worked at the Leadership Institute as a Career Services Intern and later as a Programs Assistant. Lacey’s first introduction to Washington, D.C. was a Government Relations and Advocacy internship with International Justice Mission during her last semester of college in spring of 2015. She is a West Virginia native, but attended Liberty University, where she studied Government: Politics & Policy and Philosophy, and has lived in Virginia ever since. Lacey became active in politics as well as in her community while at college, where she had the opportunity to volunteer on a few political campaigns as well as help lead a student-run, community outreach ministry called Campus Serve, where she worked with young, low-income mothers and their families. In her free time, Lacey enjoys reading, trying new coffee shops, and attending concerts.