Special Committee Co-Chairs
- Kevin J. Bethel
Kevin J. Bethel is a retired Deputy Police Commissioner in the Philadelphia Police Department, the fourth-largest police department in the nation, with over 6,600 sworn personnel. Prior to his retirement in January 2016, Mr. Bethel commanded Patrol Operations for the entire city. This included oversight of the 21 Patrol Districts, Neighborhood Services Unit, Philadelphia School District Police, and Community Relations Unit.
Bethel was recently named a Stoneleigh Foundation Fellow in the Juvenile Justice Research and Reform Lab within the Department of Psychology in Drexel University. In this role, Bethel will build upon his extensive work in the Juvenile Justice Field; including working to develop a School Diversion Program within the School District of Philadelphia. The program diverts first time, low-level juvenile offenders from justice involvement by utilizing programs within the Department of Human Services. In its first year, the program reduced the number of school arrests by 54 percent.
Bethel currently serves on the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s Disproportionate Minority Contact Subcommittee and is a former member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Law and Justice. He is also a member of the Youth Violence Collaborative and Youth Engagement for the National League of Cities Collaboration, a member of the Philadelphia Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative, a faculty member for the International Association of Chiefs of Police Juvenile Justice Leadership Institute, and a regular lecturer on school diversion and racial and ethnic disparities at Georgetown University.
- Keir Bradford-Grey
Keir Bradford-Grey became chief defender for the Defender Association of Philadelphia in the summer of 2015. Prior to Mrs. Grey’s appointment she was chief defender for Montgomery County (PA), an assistant federal defender at the Delaware Federal Defenders Office from 2007- 2012, and between 1999 and 2007 she was an assistant public defender at the Defender Association of Philadelphia. Among her accomplishments were: pioneering the use of DNA, linguistics and handwriting expertise in constructing effective criminal defenses; earning a reputation for high ethical standards, and a keen ability to combine research, analysis, logical reasoning with raw instinct to develop unconventional trial strategies; and collaborating with criminal justice stakeholders to develop individualized sentencing alternatives that improve the life outcomes of those in low-income communities.
Since 2012, Bradford-Grey has implemented a number of groundbreaking reforms placing client-centered representation at the heart of her vision. She established the “Back on Track” program, which partners the Public Defender Office with Big Brother Big Sister of SEPA to match children who have been in contact with the criminal justice system with mentors equipped to help them navigate life’s challenges. Bradford-Grey collaborated with Villanova School of Law to provide a weekly Criminal Record Expungement Clinic and restructured the juvenile unit of the Public Defender Office to ensure children and their families understand the justice system and lawyers are trained to recognize and respond to unmet needs in a child’s life (e.g., mentorship, mental health treatment, drug and alcohol treatment).
- Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr.
The Honorable Curtis Jones Jr. represents the 4th District in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Currently in his 3rd term, Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. is the Chair of Public Safety and Vice Chairman to the Committees of Park, Recreation & Cultural Affairs and Appropriations.
Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. is a champion for education, an ally for criminal justice and a friend of the environment. His notable legislation includes the Philadelphia Mortgage Diversion Program, which prevented thousands of residents from losing their homes, along with a second moratorium on Sheriff Sales during the month of January 2011 to further protect, preserve and defend the homes of Philadelphians; the Philadelphia Internship Tax Credit, which will allow high school, college, and vocational students in our City to receive a stipend for their work. Councilman Jones, Jr. has also collaborated with both District Attorney Seth Williams and former Mayor Michael Nutter for the Witness Intimidation Law, which emphasizes the importance of eyewitness testimony in the justice system and a renewed commitment to protecting those who courageously step forward to report crime.
Special Committee Members
Steven Bizar, a partner at Dechert LLP in Philadelphia, is a first chair trial lawyer with more than 25 years of experience concentrated in the defense of antitrust class action and Section 1 Sherman act cases and the trial of complex commercial disputes. Mr. Bizar litigates high-profile trial and appellate matters, and is a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and the American Bar Foundation. Among other accolades, he has been recognized as one of The Best Lawyers in America and Best Lawyers in Philadelphia for antitrust law. Within the Philadelphia Community, Mr. Bizar currently serves as President of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation. A former chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Federal Courts and State Civil Rules Committees, he also serves as an investigative team member for the Commission on the Selection and Retention of Judges, which evaluates candidates for the state bench.
- William Cobb – Founder, Redeemed PA
William Cobb, resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the Founder of Redeemed a non-government organization that employs the three-prongs of education, advocacy, and activism to eliminate systemic employment discrimination practices aimed at people who have been in conflict with the criminal justice system.
Over the course of the past 16 years Bill has served in numerous leadership capacities as an advocate for people with criminal histories. Bill served as the Vice President of the Ex-Offenders Association of Pennsylvania, the “Voice of Redemption” for the Philadelphia’s District Attorney’s Office Focused Deterrent Program, and a Presenter and Panelist for the U.S. States Attorney Office Project Safe Neighborhood Call-in Program. Bill currently serves on the boards of Community Legal Services, Philadelphia Legal Assistance, and Ardella’s House, a transitional home for women returning home from prison.
Bill is also a JustLeadershipUSA 2015 Leading with Conviction Fellow.
- Jason Cosley – Reentry Programs, Impact Services
Jason Cosley is the Director of Employment and Training at Impact Services Corporation (ISC) and member of its executive leadership team. He has been employed at ISC since 2003 and has expertise in assisting individuals with criminal backgrounds, justice-involved youth, and vulnerable adults to enter and become members of Philadelphia’s workforce. Mr. Cosley has successfully managed pre and post-release reentry programs in federal, state, local and surrounding county prison systems. In 2004, Jason served as a consultant to the Jackson vs Hendricks Oversight Committee and co-created and implemented an identification program for inmates in the city’s prison system.
Jason has successfully directed private, federal, state, and local funded workforce development initiatives in Philadelphia and the greater metropolitan area, many of which, were nationally recognized for exceeding outcomes , successfully reducing recidivism, and improving long-term sustainable employment outcomes for offenders and young adults. Jason holds a Masters of Social Work for Temple University with a concentration in Planning and Management and currently serves on the Philadelphia Reentry Coalition’s Leadership Team.
Tariq K. El-Shabazz, Esq. – Managing and founding partner, El-Shabazz and Harris, LLP
- John Hollway, Esq.- Associate Dean, Executive Director of the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania Law School
John F. Hollway is Associate Dean and Executive Director of the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. The Quattrone Center is a national research and policy hub created to catalyze long-term structural improvements to the US criminal justice system. The Center takes an interdisciplinary, data-driven, “systems approach” to identifying and analyzing the most crucial problems in the justice system, and proposing solutions that improve its fairness for the benefit of society. Its research and programs are independent and unbiased, engaging all parties required to effect substantial change for the better — academia, the judiciary, law enforcement, defense and prosecution, legislators, forensic and social scientists, victims’ rights advocates, the media, and others.
Hollway is the author of Killing Time: An 18-Year Odyssey from Death Row to Freedom, which covered the case of John Thompson, a Louisiana Death Row inmate who was exonerated and freed after 18 years in prison. Killing Time won the National Independent Book Award for non-fiction in 2011, and was one of the Chicago Sun-Times’ Best Books of the Year in 2010.
- Kenyatta Johnson – Philadelphia City Council Member, 2nd District, former Pennsylvania State Representative
- Reverend Adan Mairena – Organizing Pastor of the West Kensington Ministry at Norris Square.
- Richard T. McSorley, Esq. – Deputy Court Administrator, First Judicial District of Pennsylvania
Richard T. McSorley, Esquire was appointed Deputy Court Administrator for the Court of Common Pleas of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania on November 1st, 2013. Prior to this appointment, for 28 years, Rich served in various capacities within both Philadelphia Municipal Court and Court of Common Pleas. During this extensive service, Rich has been a leader in developing, implementing and monitoring numerous court initiatives and technological developments including, the preliminary arrest system (PARS) and video arraignment system.
During his tenure, Rich has also served as a former bail commissioner, hearing master for the Office of Emergency Protection from Abuse, and supervising trial commissioner. He is also a certified civil mediator for small claims and housing court, and an instructor for the Summary Diversion and SAM Programs.
- George Mosee – First Deputy District Attorney, City of Philadelphia
George Mosee was appointed First Assistant District Attorney in November of 2015. Prior to that he had been the Deputy District Attorney in charge of the Juvenile Division of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office since October 2002. Mosee joined the Office in 1988 and has served in various capacities including Special Assistant United States Attorney, Asset Forfeiture Chief and Dangerous Drug Offender Unit Chief. From 1995 to 2002 Mosee was the Deputy District Attorney in charge of the Narcotics Division.
Mosee serves and has served on many boards and committees including the Pennsylvania Juvenile Prosecutors Network as Chair and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee as Chair.
Richard Podguski – Director, Bureau of Reentry Coordination, Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole
Richard Podguski is the Director of the Bureau of Offender Reentry Coordination, which was created in 2006 to heighten the Board’s focus on reentry strategies and services. Mr. Podguski oversees the Board’s efforts to balance supervision and accountability of the offender with problem solving case management of the offender in order to reduce recidivism. He has been instrumental in the Board’s efforts to train parole agents in evidence based practices and risk management strategies.
Mr. Podguski is a member in various community service and professional associations such as the American Probation and Parole Association, the National Association of Probation Executive, the American Legion and the Marine Corps League, Lehigh Valley Detachment.
- Wilfredo Rojas – 3rd Vice President, Gloucester County NAACP
- Ann Schwartzman – Executive Director, Pennsylvania Prison Society
Keith B. Snyder – Executive Director, Pennsylvania Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission
Keith Snyder is the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission (JCJC). He has demonstrated the ability to successfully implement “systems change” at the statewide level as evidenced by his leadership role as Coordinator of Pennsylvania’s Mental Health / Juvenile Justice initiative that resulted in the development self-incrimination protections for statements made by children during screening and assessment as well as diversion, family involvement, mental health screening, and evidence-based program initiatives.
Mr. Snyder also served as Coordinator of Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Justice System Enhancement Strategy (JJSES) designed to employ evidence-based practices, with fidelity, at every stage of the juvenile justice process throughout Pennsylvania. The JJSES includes a “staged” framework for implementation, the publication of two JJSES Monographs, the implementation of several structured decision-making instruments, implementation of the Standardized Program Evaluation Protocol (SPEP) designed to improve the quality of services to children, and the introduction of evidence-based “tools” for juvenile probation officers to use with children.
- Julie Wertheimer – Chief of Staff to the Deputy Managing Director for Public Safety, City of Philadelphia