The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law announced that Lauren-Brooke Eisen is the new director of the Center’s Justice Program. A former prosecutor and the author of the 2017 book Inside Private Prisons, Eisen will lead the organization’s work to end mass incarceration in the United States and address the racial and economic disparities in the criminal justice system. Eisen joined the Brennan Center in 2013.
“Lauren-Brooke’s ideas and research have contributed greatly to the nationwide effort to reform the criminal justice system and end its overreliance on incarceration,” said Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center. “We’re thrilled to have her leading the next phase of the Brennan Center’s work on these critical issues.”
Eisen is co-author of the Reverse Mass Incarceration Act, a bill published by the Brennan Center that was introduced in Congress in 2017 and reintroduced in 2019. The legislation would create financial incentives for states that reduce their incarceration rates. She has also done extensive work on reforming prosecutorial practices, serving as a training and curriculum advisor for Fair and Just Prosecution, and as a member of the Prosecutor Project’s advisory board.
Most recently, Eisen co-authored the Brennan Center’s 2019 report The Steep Costs of Criminal Justice Fees and Fines. The first of its kind, the report documents the inefficiency and waste intrinsic to imposing, collecting, and enforcing court fines and fees, challenging the notion that fines and fees are an effective way to generate revenue.
“In the course of my career, I have been privileged to experience a sea change in the way Americans and our leaders view the criminal justice system,” said Eisen. “But we have a great deal more to do. Our criminal justice system still places inordinate and unnecessary burdens on the poor and on people of color, breaking up families and devastating communities.
“I look forward to continuing the close relationships the Brennan Center has built across the political spectrum and to forming connections with new allies, all with the goal of making lasting change in criminal justice.”
Eisen appears regularly on national news programs as a criminal justice expert. Her commentary has appeared in the New York Times, TIME, USA Today, and many other publications. In 2017, she published Inside Private Prisons: An American Dilemma in the Age of Mass Incarceration (Columbia University Press). She is a Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting journalism grantee and has taught at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Yale University. Before coming to the Brennan Center, Eisen was a senior program associate at the Vera Institute of Justice, a former prosecutor in New York City, and a reporter at the Laredo Morning Times in Texas where she mainly covered criminal justice.
Since June 2019, Eisen has been acting director of the Brennan Center’s Justice Program. In the years before that, she has served as counsel, senior counsel, and senior fellow in the program.
Select Brennan Center reports authored or co-authored by Lauren-Brooke Eisen:
- The Steep Costs of Criminal Justice Fees and Fines (2019)
- How Many Americans Are Unnecessarily Incarcerated? (2016)
- What Caused the Crime Decline? (2015)
- Federal Prosecution for the 21st Century (2014)
- Paying for Your Time (2014)
- Reforming Funding to Reduce Mass Incarceration (2013)
More information about Eisen is available here.
Follow Eisen on Twitter: @lbeisen.
Information about the Brennan Center’s Justice Program is available here.