About the Task Force

Council on Criminal Justice Task Forces are independent of the Council and solely responsible for the content of their reports. Task Force topics are selected by Council leadership and meetings are facilitated by Council staff and consultants, but neither the Board of Directors nor Board of Trustees approves or disapproves the findings and recommendations.

Diverse in backgrounds and perspectives, Task Force members strive to reach consensus on findings and policy proposals through private, nonpartisan discussions. Members are asked to join a consensus signifying that they endorse the general policy thrust and judgments reached by the group, though not necessarily every finding and recommendation. Task Force members may append to the group report an additional or dissenting view if they wish. Members participate in Task Forces in their individual, not their institutional, capacities, and professional affiliations included in Task Force reports do not imply institutional endorsement.

The 14-member Task Force on Federal Priorities is the Council’s first. It was convened from June 2019 through early March 2020 and was chaired by former Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. Prior to his two terms as governor, Deal served 18 years in Congress and was a Georgia state legislator, a criminal and juvenile judge, and a prosecutor.


All Task Force members are members of the Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ).

Nathan Deal, Chair

Former Governor of Georgia, member of Congress, Georgia legislator, criminal and juvenile judge, prosecutor

Eddie Bocanegra

Member, CCJ Board of Trustees Senior Director, READI Chicago (leading violence prevention program)

Steve Chanenson

Professor, Villanova University’s Charles Widger School of Law; Editor, Federal Sentencing Reporter; Former Chair, Pennsylvania Sentencing Commission

Mark Holden

Co-Chair, CCJ Board of Trustees Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Retired, Koch Industries, Inc.

Nancy La Vigne

Vice President of Justice Policy, Urban Institute; Former Executive Director, congressionally-created Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections (2016)

Janelle Melohn

Member, CCJ Board of Trustees Victim Services Director, Iowa Office of the Attorney General; President, National Association of Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Assistance Administrators

Michael Nutter

Member, CCJ Board of Trustees Former Mayor of Philadelphia; former President, U.S. Conference of Mayors

John Tilley

Senior Fellow, CCJ Former Secretary, Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet; Former chair, Kentucky House Judiciary; former co-chair NCSL Criminal Justice Committee

Charles Ramsey

Member, CCJ Board of Trustees Former Police Chief, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia

David Safavian

General Counsel, American Conservative Union, and Deputy Director, American Conservative Union Foundation Nolan Center for Justice; Former Chief of Staff, U.S. General Services Administration

Christina Swarns

President and Attorney-in-Charge, Office of the Appellate Defender (New York City); Former Supervising Assistant Federal Defender (Philadelphia).

Donald Stern

Member, CCJ Board of Directors Of Counsel, Yurko, Salvesen & Remz; Former U.S. Attorney, Massachusetts

Kimá Taylor, MD, MPH

Managing Principal, Anka Consulting LLC; Former Director, Open Society Foundations Addiction Programs; former Baltimore Deputy Health Commissioner

Sally Yates

Co-Chair, CCJ Board of Trustees Partner, King & Spalding; Former Deputy Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice