Schiff comes to the Council on Crime and Justice after serving twelve years as a Minneapolis City Council Member. Representing the Ninth Ward, Schiff advocated for crime victims and collaborated with public and private entities to reduce recidivism and increase public safety.
Schiff will be the fifth president since the Council on Crime and Justice was founded in 1957. "We are delighted to welcome Gary Schiff to the Council on Crime and Justice," said Tom Boardman, Chair of the CCJ Board of Directors. "Gary Schiff is a mission-driven and results-oriented leader with a proven ability to build coalitions and advance policy solutions. Gary's background in elected office and in building nonprofit capacity will serve CCJ well during a time of changing needs for the criminal justice system in Minnesota."
"The Council on Crime and Justice uses a highly respected model of independent research, advocacy and service that reflects my belief in holistic approaches to solving problems," said Schiff. "I'm excited by the focused vision of the Council on Crime and Justice and the opportunity to help build a movement that succeeds in eliminating racial disparities in the criminal justice system and improving opportunities for all Minnesotans."
The Council on Crime and Justice works on the behalf of both victims of crime as well as people with criminal records. Earlier this year, the group released a report on the collateral consequences of a juvenile crime record and successfully lobbied for the Second Chance Expungement Bill signed by Governor Dayton in May. The bill creates a more thorough expungement mechanism that allows judges to permanently seal the criminal records of reformed offenders – making it easier for these Minnesotans to secure good jobs, access quality housing, and provide for their families.
Schiff brings 20 years of nonprofit leadership experience in an array of areas including strategic planning, fundraising, volunteer engagement, marketing communications, program development, project management and community relations. On the Minneapolis City Council, Schiff represented a racially diverse district and worked hand-in-hand with police, judges, elected officials, social service leaders, faith leaders, neighborhood activists and employers to turn strategic planning into tangible results.
Schiff began his work at the Council on Crime and Justice on July 1, 2014, at which time Interim President Andy Sagvold resumed his position as Director of Programs and Services.
Schiff holds a BA in Women's Studies from the University of Minnesota and studied urban planning at the University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs. He currently serves on the board of In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater and has served on the capital campaign boards of Little Earth for United Tribes, CAPI, and Alliance Housing.