Founded in 1988, CJPF is one of the oldest drug policy reform organizations in the United States. CJPF's primary mission is to educate the public about the impact of drug policy on the criminal justice system. We provide information and strategic advice to policymakers, criminal justice organizations, interest groups and the public through direct consultation, conferences, publications, the news media and blogs. We also assist drug policy reform organizations with advice on coalitions, legal organization, management, outreach, research, and media relations.
Currently, CJPF is working to expand the coalition advocating for the end of drug prohibition. In our outreach to organizations, business groups and other stakeholders, we explain how the War on Drugs harms their interests and how drug policy reform would mitigate those harms. CJPF is a bridge between the public and policymakers to amplify the stories of those harmed by counterproductive and discriminatory drug policy, to help create a new culture of criminal justice and drug policy, and to develop legislation to support a progressive and equitable justice system.
Eric E. Sterling has been the Executive Director of CJPF since 1989. Mr. Sterling was Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary from 1979 until 1989. On the staff of the Subcommittee on Crime from 1981 to 1989, (Rep. William J. Hughes (D-NJ), Chair), he was responsible for drug enforcement, gun control, money laundering, organized crime, pornography, terrorism, corrections, and military assistance to law enforcement. In 1979, Mr. Sterling was hired by Rep. Robert Drinan, S.J., Chair of the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, to assist the subcommittee on rewriting the federal criminal code. Mr. Sterling frequently lectures at colleges, universities, and professional societies throughout the nation and is regularly interviewed by the national news media.
In the 1980s, Mr. Robert C. Linnell, a Boston businessman and philanthropist, was alarmed by the grave threat of corruption to the American criminal justice system. Mr. Linnell saw this corruption as endemic to drug enforcement and, in 1988, was inspired to co-found the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation with Mr. Sterling in an effort to address these threats. Mr. Linnell believed that a criminal justice system that is honest, fair and effective is one of America's most important institutions. He believed that America's national life depends upon our safety and liberty, which in turn depends upon the integrity and effectiveness of our justice system.
CJPF is a private, non-profit organization. It is a tax-exempt charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.