SMU is launching the new Deason Family Criminal Justice Reform Center in Dedman School of Law, where scholars will conduct innovative research and educational programs to address the need for reforms in the U.S. criminal justice system. Independent research and educational opportunities in the new Deason Family Criminal Justice Reform Center will address topics such as the causes of wrongful convictions and over-incarceration and promote the fair and ethical treatment of individuals at all stages of the criminal justice process.

The center will be supported by combined gifts totaling $7 million from the Deason Foundation and the Charles Koch Foundation. The gifts, made during The Second Century Campaign, will provide $3.5 million from each over a period of five years.

The Deason Family Criminal Justice Reform Center will provide a platform for important interdisciplinary collaboration among many different groups, including scholars, students, the judiciary, law enforcement, prosecutors and defense counsel. By bringing together experts from across the country to participate in symposia and conferences, the center will engage in national conversations surrounding criminal justice.

“Our passion for criminal justice reform is based on our desire to create and support programs that help lift the poor from poverty, to help them become self-dependent and, consequently, support their families and live their lives with dignity,” said Doug Deason.

“Finding solutions to the problems with our criminal justice system will require the sort of leading-edge scholarship that the faculty at SMU produce,” said Charles Koch Foundation President Brian Hooks.