Dedman School of Law receives $7 million to fund innovative research, educational programs for criminal justice

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SMU will launch the new Deason Family Criminal Justice Reform Center in its Dedman School of Law after receiving $7 million in gifts from the Deason Foundation and the Charles Koch Foundation, according to an SMU press release.

The Deason Foundation and the Charles Koch Foundation will support the center with its donation, each providing $3.5 million over the course of five years. The Deason Foundation, currently run by CEO Darwin Deason, supports Christian agencies and churches, education and medical research. Deason has donated to SMU before, providing a $7.75 million gift to the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering in 2014, creating the Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security and supported the Deason Innovation Gym. The

The addition to SMU’s law school will allow scholars to conduct independent research and create educational opportunities on topics like the “causes of wrongful convictions and over-incarceration, and ensuring the fair and ethical treatment of individuals at all stages of the criminal justice process.”

The center will be supported by combined gifts totaling $7 million from the Deason Foundation and the Charles Koch Foundation. The gifts will provide $3.5 million each over a period of five years.

“The support from the Deason Foundation and the Charles Koch Foundation for this center goes right to the heart of what a great university like SMU is positioned to do in finding solutions to societal problems,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The United States has 5 percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of the world’s prison population, so there’s work to be done. Dedman Law is eager to engage in the important national debate surrounding issues of fairness, accuracy and compassion in the criminal justice system.”

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