Greg Berman, A Great Leader of the Center for Court Innovation, Retires

Among the most creative people in the criminal justice system is Greg Berman. For nearly 25 years he has led the Center for Court Innovation.


Greg Berman to Step Down

Search Launched to Replace Long-Time Leader

NEW YORK, N.Y.—The Center for Court Innovation announces the resignation of its long-time director Greg Berman after 25 years of service to the organization.


“We are lucky to have the Center for Court Innovation in New York. For more than 20 years, the Center has served as our research and development partner in reengineering how our courts respond to the needs of our litigants. Under Greg Berman’s leadership, the Center for Court Innovation has helped keep New York at the cutting edge of justice reform, implementing programs that have changed the lives of thousands of New Yorkers for the better. We thank him for his commitment to improving justice in New York,” said Janet DiFiore, chief judge of the State of New York.

“Greg is a dynamic leader who thinks deeply and acts boldly. At the helm of the Center for Court Innovation, he has created and led path-breaking work that has fundamentally changed the way we, as a city, think about the purpose and function of the criminal justice system and the way in which we do justice. On behalf of the city, I thank Greg for his extraordinary service and wish him every success in his next chapter,” said Elizabeth Glazer, director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.

“Greg Berman has brought style, foresight, and heart to the business of reforming the justice system. Under his direction, the Center for Court Innovation has become one of the most important justice reform agencies in the world. This is testimony to Greg’s creativity and intellectual curiosity—two qualities that he has embedded into the culture of the agency. It has been a pleasure to work with him,” said Victoria Pratt, chair of the Center’s advisory board.

Berman was part of the founding team that created the Center in 1996 as a public-private partnership between the New York State Court System and the Fund for the City of New York. He became executive director in 2002. Over the years, he has helped guide the organization to an annual budget of more than $80 million and more than 520 employees. He has accepted numerous awards on behalf of the Center, including The Peter F. Drucker Prize for Nonprofit Innovation. He helped create the award-winning Red Hook Community Justice Center, Neighbors in Action, Bronx Community Solutions, Brooklyn Justice Initiatives, Brownsville Community Justice Center, and many other new programs. These projects currently serve more than 77,000 participants each year. Berman also helped to organize the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform (the Lippman Commission), which successfully argued for the closing of the notorious jail complex on Rikers Island.

Berman has written extensively about topics of justice reform. With John Feinblatt, he helped define the field of problem-solving justice with the first-ever book on the topic Good Courts: The Case for Problem-Solving Justice. His latest book (with Julian Adler), Start Here: A Road Map to Reducing Mass Incarceration, was named one of the best books of 2018 by the Vera Institute of Justice and short-listed for the Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice.

Former New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman will lead the search to replace Berman with the help of On-Ramps. The job description can be found here. Berman will remain at the helm of the organization until a new director is in place. After that, he will become a senior fellow at the Center, working part-time on selected writing projects and helping to ensure a smooth transition.

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