Today brings news that the Criminal Justice Agency (CJA) has selected Aubrey Fox to be their new executive director. CJA has a long, rich tradition of reducing the unnecessary use of pretrial detention in New York City. I have written in the past about the special debt that I feel to the agency so I won't rehash that here. What I'm not sure I've written about before is the debt that I feel to Aubrey.
Aubrey worked at the Center for Court Innovation for many years and in many capacities. Among other things, he helped to plan and launch Bronx Community Solutions and the Centre for Justice Innovation, our UK-based sister agency. As with all of the best people that I have worked with over the years, it is difficult to distill Aubrey's impact down to items on a resume. In particular, his intellectual curiosity, his sense of adventure, and his capacity for mirth had a big influence on the trajectory of the Center. Certainly they had a big influence on me.
I can't count the number of essays, op-eds, grant proposals, reports and other written products that I have co-authored with Aubrey. This includes working together on Trial & Error in Criminal Justice Reform: Learning from Failure, a book about how difficult it is to make change happen in the real world. Collaboration can be hard work -- it is not easy to produce joint written product. But working with Aubrey was a day at the beach -- he always brought humor and insight and flexibility and compassion.
I have no doubt that he will bring these same qualities to leading CJA. I wish him nothing but success.