University of Wisconsin–Madison

Spring 2018

Criminal Justice Reform                              Register Now

How can state policymakers revise the criminal justice system so that it is more cost-efficient without damaging the safety of the community? This is the broad question that the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership seeks to answer with a multi-day conference on criminal justice reform. This two-day long conference of policymakers and academics from both the left and the right will focus on three broad topics:

1. How can state policymakers reform prisoner re-entry so that prisoners returning to the workforce have the skills they need to obtain and maintain employment in jobs that are under-filled?
2. How can state policymakers reform prosecutorial discretion in a manner that it is fair to defendants but also affords prosecutors the powers they legitimately need to enforce the law and obtain revenue?
3. How can state policymakers reform civil forfeiture in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution and protects individual property rights?

The conference begins at 8:30 AM on Thursday, April 26 and ends at lunch time on Friday April 27. It will be held at the Monona Terrace. Lunch will be provided on April 26 for all panelists and registered attendees. Grover Norquist will provide the keynote address during lunch.

April 26 Morning Sessions’ Panelists:

Prisoner Re-Entry:

Derek Cohn (Texas Public Policy Foundation)
Professor Jennifer Doleaec (University of Virginia)
Jon Ponder (HOPE for Prisoners)
Heather Rice-Minus (Prison Fellowship)
David Safavian (American Conservative Union)
Professor Lahny Silva (Indiana Law)
Bob Woodsen (Woodsen Center)
Moderator: Professor Michael Massoglia

Keynote Address by Grover Norquist

April 26 Afternoon Sessions’ Panelists:

Prosecutorial Discretion:

Paul Connell (WI Atty General office)
Todd Graves (Graves Gerrett LLC)
Steve Hurley (Hurley Burish & Stanton)
Professor Renée Hutchins (UM Carey Law)
Professor Brian Johnson (University of Maryland)
Professor Michael Light (UW-Madison)
Professor John Pfaff (Fordham University)
Caroline Sarnoff (Measures for Justice)
Paige Styler (Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office)
Moderator: Professor Cecelia M. Klingele

April 27 Morning Sessions’ Panelists:

Civil Forfeiture, Fees, Fines:

Dr. Dick Carpenter (Institute for Justice)
Tom Lyons (Right on Crime)
Dean A. Mazzone (MA Atty General Office)
John Richter (King and Spalding)
Professor Ebony Ruhland (Cincinnati Law)
Jason Snead (Heritage Foundation)
Professor Sandra Guerra Thompson (Houston Law)
Moderator: Rachel Zierden


The Thompson Center would like to thank the National Federalist Society, the Madison Chapter of the Federalist Society, the National American Constitution Society, and the Milwaukee Chapter of the American Constitution Society for their support for this conference.

Fall 2018

Leadership Principles and Practice

How can public leaders govern more effectively? What principles and practices lead to success for public leaders? How do those principles and practices differ from leaders in the private sector? This conference will bring together some of the best empirical leadership scholars in the country to examine the conditions under which leaders can govern effectively.

Spring 2019

Attracting Citizens to Public Service

In a republic like ours, it is important that citizens take their turn at public service. But how can we ensure that even greater numbers of capable citizens become public servants? This conference will examine the factors that lead people to run for elected offices (legislative, executive, and judicial), to decide to become public servants, and what needs to be done to attract a broader base of people seeking to enter public service.