Jonathan McLean Joins CASES as New CEO

The Center for Alternative Sentencing & Employment Services (CASES) is thrilled to announce Jonathan McLean as our next Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Jonathan is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and proven leader with extensive experience in operations, administration, program development, and diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) initiatives.  McLean will succeed Joel Copperman, who has led CASES since 1990.

The Chair of the CASES Board of Trustees Lee Wood said, “It is with great gratitude that the Board of Trustees thanks Joel Copperman for his 32 years of leadership in building an organization recognized nationally for its impact in advancing alternatives to incarceration and promoting recovery among people with serious mental illness who are involved in the criminal legal system. As we now look to the future of CASES, the Board is delighted to welcome Jonathan McLean as the new CEO. We are confident that under Jonathan’s leadership, our dedicated staff will continue to provide innovative, high-quality services to help people impacted by the New York City criminal legal system.”

McLean said, “I am thrilled to be joining an organization with a strong track record of improving the lives of those involved in the criminal legal system and their families. My own experience in New York’s criminal legal system has been a central driving factor in my clinical, youth services, leadership, and DEIB work, and I look forward to joining CASES’ dynamic team and doing my part to help actualize our vision of a city where a person’s criminal legal involvement and behavioral health needs do not limit opportunities to realize a better life.”

Jonathan will join CASES in mid-September. He has extensive experience delivering, managing, and leading direct service programs, including clinical and youth programs. Since 2019, he has been the Vice President of Residential & Youth Justice Services at SCO Family of Services, providing leadership, vision, and direct operational oversight for a diverse program portfolio including residential treatment, transitional housing, and jail- and community-based programming implemented by more than 600 staff and with an operating budget exceeding $64 million. At SCO, Jonathan has also led and co-led DEIB work, engaged in an array of organizational transformation initiatives, and worked closely with government partners including the NYS Office of Children & Family Services, NY State Education Department, NYC Administration of Children’s Services, NYC Division of Youth & Community Development, NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, and the NYC Department of Correction. Prior to joining SCO, he worked in a variety of direct service and leadership roles at The Jewish Board and the Center for Urban Community Services.


CASES’ programs date to 1967 and the establishment of one of New York City’s first alternatives to incarceration (ATIs) for youth. In 2000, CASES expanded its scope of services, establishing the city’s first ATI for people living with serious mental illnesses and facing felony incarceration. Over the past 55 years, CASES’ jail and prison alternative programs have prevented the harm and trauma of incarceration; supported individual participants to achieve education, employment, health, and housing goals; and reduced recidivism. In 2021, CASES’ Nathaniel Project ATI won the Mutual of America Foundation’s prestigious national Community Partnership Award for promoting recovery and wellness among New Yorkers living with serious mental illnesses who would otherwise face felony incarceration. CASES was also recently selected—in a collaboration with the New York Justice Peer Initiative—as a finalist by the US Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration for its first-ever Recovery Innovation Challenge Awards, in recognition of a commitment to promoting recovery and empowering lived experience in program development and implementation.