Department of Justice, Law & Criminology
Kim Ball is the director of the Justice Programs Office, a center in the School of Public Affairs at American University, which has advanced evidence-based policies and practices and provided expertise, training, technical assistance, and research to the justice community for more than 25 years.
Kim is a nationally-recognized and accomplished criminal justice strategist known for her cross-disciplinary approach to program development and coalition building. Kim provides expert advice and services on civil and criminal legal matters, with an emphasis on collaborative justice, judicial leadership, and reducing mass incarceration.
Kim has an extensive record of establishing collaborative partnerships that leverage resources and expertise from across and outside of criminal justice disciplines to effect social change. She has developed successful reform efforts in pretrial justice, problem-solving courts, prosecutor diversion, early appointment of defense counsel, and procedural fairness training, which have led to fairer and more effective state and local courts that have been models for national replication. Kim is a frequent presenter on these and other topics at summits and policy forums and is a guest contributor on broadcast and online media outlets.
Under Kim’s leadership, JPO staff and AU faculty with a deep experience working for and with local, state, and federal justice agencies are developing policies and practices for state and local policy makers, developing and disseminating criminal justice research, leading a public awareness campaign to ensure the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, providing training and technical assistance to juvenile drug treatment courts, directing the National Drug Court Resource, Policy and Evidence-Based Practice Center, and supporting Prosecutors Against Gun Violence.
Kim came to JPO from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) in the U.S. Department of Justice, where she served as the Senior Policy Advisor for Adjudication. During her tenure there, Kim developed cross-disciplinary strategies and programs to help disparate disciplines—law enforcement, courts, corrections, and information technology—work together to improve the administration of justice. While there, she grew the adjudication portfolio of U.S. Department of Justice by 80 percent.
Kim is originally from Arkansas and served as a Special Assistant District Attorney in Little Rock before moving to Washington, DC. She worked on select cases in district, municipal, and juvenile courts and represented the state in probate court on mental health and substance use commitment cases. She also worked on juvenile law reform in the aftermath of the Jonesboro, Arkansas, school shooting, taught criminal procedure to law enforcement officers, and contributed articles to The Arkansas Prosecutor, a statewide monthly newsletter.
She holds a JD from the Fayetteville School of Law at University of Arkansas. She is an avid Arkansas Razorback fan, loves Memphis-style barbecue, and enjoys traveling to new countries and hiking mountains.
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