University of Baltimore School of Law Launches Center for Criminal Justice Reform
February 17, 2022
Contact: Christine Stutz
To help address the many challenges facing the nation with respect to mass incarceration, rising gun violence, and more, The University of Baltimore School of Law has created a Center for Criminal Justice Reform (CCJR).
The CCJR, led by faculty director Professor David Jaros and executive director Heather Warnken, will support community-driven efforts to improve public safety and address the harm and inequity caused by the criminal legal system, bringing together diverse voices and decision-makers to examine how the criminal legal system currently functions, and to collaborate on strategies that promote justice throughout the country and in Baltimore.
The center, and a companion Criminal Defense Clinic launching in Fall 2022, were made possible through a $2 million donation from Baltimore Law alumnus Samuel G. Rose, LL.B. '62. A retired commercial real estate developer who obtained his law degree while attending night classes, Rose had a highly successful career in commercial real estate, largely in metropolitan Washington, D.C., and worked for corporations including the Rouse Co. and the American Trading & Production Corp.
Rose currently serves on The University of Baltimore's President's Council, and previously served as vice chair of the board of directors for the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In FY 2021, Rose established an undergraduate scholarship fund at UBalt through a new $5 million fund, setting a single-donor record for cash contributions to the University's endowment. In 2020, he contributed $1.2 million to fund scholarships and support UBalt undergraduate students during the pandemic through the University's Student Emergency Assistance Fund.
The Criminal Defense Clinic will be led by Katie Kronick, who joins the Baltimore Law faculty in Summer 2022 after serving as practitioner-in-residence at American University Washington College of Law's Criminal Defense Clinic.
"Our legal system demands that we constantly seek out better ways to ensure the delivery of justice," says University of Baltimore President Kurt L. Schmoke. "It's in our mission at the University to deliver on the promise that all who are involved in criminal justice are getting it right—without bias, without compromise; indeed, with no agenda other than the goal of constant improvement. UBalt's new center will strive for that. Citizens here and elsewhere will be the beneficiaries."
"This new Center places The University of Baltimore School of Law at the center of vital policy debates across the country, and builds on the law school's long-standing prominence in the criminal law field," says School of Law Dean Ronald Weich. "Heather Warnken's experience working with communities to reduce harm and interrupt cycles of violence makes her an ideal executive director for this Center. Dave Jaros' experience teaching criminal law, and previously as a public defender, gives him a strong foundation from which to help shape the Center's agenda. We are indebted to Sam Rose for recognizing the need to bring more justice into the criminal justice system."
"While there is more attention being paid to the criminal justice system these days, from my perspective it can only help to have The University of Baltimore School of Law focused on these issues in every way possible," Rose says. "It's both exciting and gratifying to support efforts to improve the lives of individuals—the wrongly accused and the excessively punished—while working more broadly to influence local and national policy around violence prevention, mass incarceration, juvenile justice, and more."
Through its initiatives and partnerships, the CCJR will be a convener of community and government stakeholders in an effort to identify challenges and recommend solutions to the deeply entrenched inequities in our criminal legal system. Public events will be an important part of stimulating and continuing these important conversations.
The center will also support UBalt faculty and students on direct service efforts, including the exoneration of the wrongly convicted and working to release people convicted as juveniles serving lengthy sentences. The center will provide UBalt students with additional experiential learning opportunities that further tangible change across a range of criminal justice reform issues, and the chance to partner with the grassroots organizations, policymakers, and directly impacted people at the center of this work.
Read more about the Center for Criminal Justice Reform in The Daily Record (subscription required).
About The University of Baltimore School of Law
Founded in 1925, The University of Baltimore School of Law provides a rigorous and practical legal education, combining doctrinal coursework and community-based learning to ensure that its graduates are exceptionally well prepared to practice law.
The University of Baltimore is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the College of Public Affairs, the Merrick School of Business, the School of Law and the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences.