The CASES Board of Trustees announced today that Joel Copperman, its President and CEO for over 31 years, has decided to step down. Lee Wood, CASES Board Chair said, “In this decision, Joel will leave CASES in an excellent position. We will be going from strength to strength with a strong, well-run and vital organization that fulfills its mission and continually looks to the future.” Joel will be leaving CASES next summer.
“I started at CASES during a “lock-‘em-up,” tough-on-crime era. With ongoing advocacy and the success of programs like those operated by CASES, we moved from rising jail and prison populations to an understanding that incarceration is almost always the wrong response to crime. Services, programs, and family and community ties are much more likely to lead to good outcomes, both for people involved in the criminal legal system and for communities. I have had an extraordinary experience working at CASES where we and other community-based programs have led the way.
I am proud of our many accomplishments over more than three decades. CASES’ work with youth and young adults is rooted in our beginnings as a spinoff from the Vera Institute of Justice. Our advocacy work in the courts and our partnerships with courthouse stakeholders are models of innovative, reflective, and effective practice. Across the organization, we continually develop new approaches and programs to best serve our clients.
CASES’ work with people living with serious mental illness stands out. In 1999, we identified an overwhelming need among this population for which judges had few sentencing options and who instead of being engaged in effective support and treatment models in the community were increasingly churned in and out of jails and prisons as their health worsened. CASES decided to build on our reputation in the courts and started new programs to address this need. Now, more than 20 years later, we operate 13 mobile treatment teams, a mental health clinic, and extensive home and community-based services within an organization with the capacity to support all our 7,000 annual clients who may be experiencing a mental health need.
CASES’ future is bright. We have a dynamic leadership team and a strong and supportive Board of Trustees. The CASES staff is well trained, committed and diverse. Our consistent reputation as a superior service provider combines with our productive partnerships across government and with our colleague organizations.”
Joel has spent his career working in the public sector. Following law school, he worked as a legal services lawyer for eight years in Boston. After an additional degree from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Joel moved to New York City and worked in the Koch Administration for eight years. He joined CASES in 1990.
Chair Wood adds, “Joel has done a stellar job as the CEO and President at CASES. The organization continues to grow under his leadership. His work on various City and State Commissions and his relationship with our government partners has helped establish and keep CASES at the cutting edge of change in the criminal legal system. He has attracted talented people to work at CASES and on the Executive Team. CASES is in a very good position as we transition to a new leader.”
CASES Board has constituted a search committee and is currently in the process of selecting a search firm. More information to follow.