Special Committee: Criminal Justice Reform Progress Panel

Committee Overview

In response to the Criminal Justice Task Force’s recommendation, in 2017, the County Executive appointed and charged the progress panel to act under the auspices of the Institute of Politics. Progress panel members are listed below. Eight of its nine members were drawn from the membership of the task force, and the co-chairs of that task force, Mark Nordenberg and Frederick Thieman, agreed to co-chair the progress panel.

The group has been meeting on a quarterly basis to review progress in implementing the task force’s recommendations and advancing its guiding principles, providing a new measure of accountability and a new source of information. The panel, in conjunction with the Allegheny County Criminal Justice Coordinator, publishes relevant information about the system to encourage the ongoing development of creative and innovative mechanisms to improve fairness and effectiveness.


The Progress Panel is co-chaired by:

  • Mark Nordenberg, Chair, Insitute of Politics and Chancellor Emeritus, University of Pittsburgh
  • Fred Thieman, Henry Buhl Jr. Chair for Civic Leadership, The Buhl Foundation

Click here for a complete list of committee members.


    The following publications issued by the Institute are related to the focus areas of the Progress Panel:

    Current/Recent Projects

    Jail Forum

    On December 5, 2019, the University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics held a special program entitled “Repurposing Jails to Meet 21st Century Community Needs.” The all-day forum featured respected national leaders whose thoughts stimulated and informed local discussions regarding the best use of the Allegheny County jail to preserve public safety while enhancing fairness, improving outcomes and reducing costs. By reviewing the ways in which space currently is utilized in our county jail, Allegheny County would join a growing number of jurisdictions committed to goals for their jails that include, but go beyond, secure incarceration. During the forum, national experts addressed such critical topics as the purpose and demographics of jails, practices for combating both high levels of recidivism and racial disparities, and modern trends in jail use. Additional information on forum speakers and presentations can be found here

    Past Projects

    CRSP Lecture

    On January 24, 2017, Mark Nordenberg, Fred Thieman, and Ed Mulvey presented on the work of the Criminal Justice Taskforce as part of the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work's Center on Race and Social Problems Spring 2018 Speaker Series. The trio of speakers were introduced by Dean Larry Davis and County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. During the lecture, the speakers discussed the need for criminal justice refom, the guiding princples of the task force, and the progress already occuring in Allegheny County to implement the task force's recommendations. The recommendations that had been made and the directions that were being taken were received with high levels of enthusiasm.

    The PowerPoint presentation from the lecture can be found below: