Press Releases and Media Advisories

Press Release

Thursday, March 18, 2010

For Immediate Release

Prominent Criminal Justice Leaders Line Up for Fast-Rising Podcast

Contact: Susan Gluss, 510.642.6936,

Berkeley, CA-March 18, 2010... UC Berkeley School of Law criminal justice expert David Onek has launched a new weekly Criminal Justice Conversations podcast that features in-depth interviews with top law enforcement officials, policymakers, advocates, and more. Initial 30-minute episodes have already made waves with guest appearances by White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske and former Los Angeles Police Chief and New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.

Onek, who founded the law school's Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice (BCCJ) in 2006 and served as executive director for more than three years, also sits on the San Francisco Police Commission. Before coming to Berkeley Law, he worked as deputy director of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's Office of Criminal Justice, as well as at the W. Haywood Burns Institute, Legal Services for Children, and the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, who will appear in an upcoming podcast, says "David Onek's wide-ranging criminal justice experience make him the perfect person to educate both criminal justice practitioners and the general public on how we can be smart on crime."

Besides Kerlikowske and Bratton, recent guests include California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Matthew Cate; Omega Boys Club co-founder and executive director Joe Marshall; and California State Senator Mark Leno, chair of the California Senate Public Safety Committee. The upcoming lineup includes San Francisco police chief George Gascon, and Benjamin Jealous, NAACP President and CEO.

Jealous says Onek is "the rare criminal justice leader who is extremely well regarded by both the advocacy community and by law enforcement."

"Criminal justice issues are complex, but all we usually hear are brief sound bites and simplistic slogans," Onek says. "The podcast gets behind the sound bites to have detailed, nuanced conversations about criminal justice policy." With a firm grasp of criminal justice issues and strong relationships with his guests, Onek believes listeners can feel like they're "eavesdropping on a candid conversation between two colleagues over a cup of coffee."

By presenting perspectives and concerns from all corners of the criminal justice arena, Onek hopes to provide a thorough look at key issues-and to shatter a few misconceptions. The podcasts have already seen Kerlikowske tout drug treatment and prevention, Marshall urge community members to collaborate proactively with law enforcement, and Bratton discuss the importance of community policing.

"David's innovative podcast fills a void by drilling beneath the surface to bring complex criminal justice issues to light," says Bratton. "He's one of the most promising young criminal justice leaders in the country."

The podcast is a co-production of Berkeley Law and UC Berkeley School of Journalism, which produces the podcast in a high-end studio. Episodes are available through the podcast Web site, iTunes, and a Facebook fan page. National Public Radio San Francisco affiliate KALW (91.7 FM) is airing excerpts on the radio and posting full shows online.

About University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

For over a century, Berkeley Law has prepared lawyers to be skilled and ethical problem-solvers. The law school's curriculum-one of the most comprehensive and innovative in the nation-offers its J.D. and advanced degree candidates a broad array of nearly 200 courses. Students collaborate with leading scholars and practitioners working on legal issues at more than a dozen interdisciplinary centers, institutes, and clinical programs within its Boalt Hall complex. Visit us at and Twitter.