John S. Cooper, Executive Director
John S. Cooper is the executive director of Safe & Just Michigan, and is responsible for the organization’s strategic vision and direction. He joined Safe & Just Michigan in 2017 as policy director after serving as a criminal justice policy advisor to State Representative David LaGrand (D – 75th, Grand Rapids).
“We are working to strengthen communities through smart criminal justice reforms,” says Cooper. “Lansing’s political landscape is always changing, but we have a compelling message, and the work couldn’t be more worth the effort.”
Cooper’s research and advocacy is focused on Michigan’s adult criminal legal system, with an emphasis on strategies to reduce Michigan’s prison population, remove barriers to successful reentry, and increase the use of effective alternatives to incarceration.
During his tenure at Safe & Just Michigan, Cooper has led several legislative campaigns to reform Michigan’s criminal legal system, including the successful campaign to enact “objective parole,” 2018 PA 339.
Before he joined Rep. LaGrand’s office, Cooper spent seven years as a litigator in the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins LLP. He also served as a law clerk to Hon. Boyce F. Martin, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.
Cooper obtained his juris doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law after graduating with honors from Calvin College. He lives in his hometown of Grand Rapids.