Derek M. Cohen, Ph.D, is the Foundation’s Chief Research Officer and Right on Crime Senior Fellow. Previously the Vice President of Policy and Director of Right on Crime, the Foundation’s criminal justice reform initiative, Cohen was instrumental in the passage of the First Step Act, federal legislation that borrowed from successful changes to prisons and sentencing that he had helped pass in conservative states. In addition to leading the Foundation’s work on criminal justice, he is also the lead researcher of firearms policy.

Cohen currently serves as a commissioner on the State Commission on Judicial Conduct and as a member of the Judicial Advisory Council, both terms expiring in late 2029.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Cohen worked as a researcher with the University of Cincinnati’s Institute of Crime Science and completed three advanced statistical trainings at the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan. He also taught classes in statistics, research methods, criminal procedure, courts, and corrections.

Cohen’s academic work can be found in Criminology and Public Policy, Victims and Offenders, the Oxford Handbook on Police and Policing, and many other academic outlets. He has presented several papers to the American Society of Criminology, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and the American Evaluation Association.

Cohen graduated with a BS in criminal justice from Bowling Green State University and earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in criminal justice from the University of Cincinnati.