Ram Subramanian is the managing director of the Brennan Center’s Justice Program. In his role as managing director, Subramanian plays a critical role helping to shape and direct the programmatic work, including data-driven reports and analyses that examine the racial and economic disparities in the criminal justice system.
Prior to joining the Brennan Center, Subramanian most recently served as the editorial director of the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera), where he oversaw all of Vera’s outward-facing publications. Before his appointment to editorial director, Subramanian worked in Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections, providing research and technical assistance to state and county departments of corrections. His primary focus areas were sentencing laws, community corrections, prison conditions, and addressing sexual abuse in custodial settings. Subramanian also played a leadership role starting up Vera’s international comparative sentencing and corrections work. In this capacity he planned multiple study trips to Northern Europe between 2013 and 2019, helping to jump-start a new movement of criminal justice practitioners, advocates, and other social justice organizations that focuses its attention on how European criminal justice policy and practice can inform reform efforts in the United States. In both of his roles, Subramanian also researched and wrote many groundbreaking reports including Reimagining Prison, Incarceration’s Front Door, Out of Sight, Overlooked, and Playbook for Change? .
Earlier in his career, Subramanian worked as a researcher, advocate, and human rights lawyer in Zimbabwe and South Africa, focusing on issues of democracy, judicial independence, and sexual and political violence. He holds a master's degree in international affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, a law degree from the University of Melbourne Law School, and an undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University.
In the Shadows: A Review of the Research on Plea Bargaining, Vera Institute of Justice, September 2020
Broken Ground: Why America Keeps Building More Jails and What it Can do Instead, Vera Institute of Justice, November 2019
Gatekeepers: The role of police in ending mass incarceration, Vera Institute of Justice, August 2019
The State of Prisons, Vera Institute of Justice, January 2019
The State of Sentencing, Vera Institute of Justice, January 2019
Reimagining Prison in Germany and Norway, Vera Institute of Justice, October 2018
Out of Sight: The Growth of Jails in Rural America, Vera Institute of Justice, June 2017
Doing the Right Thing: The Evolving Role of Human Dignity in American Sentencing and Corrections, Federal Sentencing Reporter, October 2014
Recalibrating Justice: A Review of 2013 State Sentencing and Corrections Trends, Vera Institute of Justice, July 2014
Lessons from the past: Remand detention and pre-trial services, South African Crime Quarterly, March 2013
A View from the States: Evidence-Based Public Safety Legislation, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Summer 2012
Policing reforms came to San Diego, but for activists the biggest changes remain elusive, San Diego Union-Tribune, May 23, 2021
Capitol Insider: Rise in pretrial detentions alarm bail reform proponents, Times Union, September 18, 2020
Why Do Rural Areas Keep Building New Jails?, The Crime Report, November 22, 2019
Architecture and Prison Reform, Architectural Record, March 4, 2019
Florida Could Start a Criminal-Justice Data Revolution, Wired, March 13, 2018
In Growth of Jail Populations, Rural Areas Outpace Big Cities, Wall Street Journal, June 13, 2017
Rural America's Jail Dilemma, The Crime Report, July 6, 2017
Opioid crisis blamed as cause for rural Ohio counties' need for new jails, The Columbus Dispatch, June 23, 2017
Think crowded jails are an urban problem? A new study says rural jails are growing fast, Washington Post, June 13, 2017
How Maryland came to repeal mandatory minimums for drug offenders, Washington Post, June 1, 2016