Center for Criminal Justice Reform
LL.M., University of California, Berkeley School of Law
J.D., Suffolk University Law School, cum laude
B.A., Johns Hopkins University, with honors
Areas of Expertise
Criminal Justice Policy Reform and Implementation
Trauma and Victimization
Warnken was named executive director of the Center in January 2022. Prior to coming to the University of Baltimore, her work at both the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Berkeley's Warren Institute was focused on addressing the harm caused by the criminal legal system and promoting healing in marginalized communities. This work has included efforts to end the criminalization of trauma, and to increase resources for community-based strategies and services that more effectively enhance public safety and prevent harm.
As a visiting fellow at DOJ, co-affiliated with the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Office for Victims of Crime, Warnken served in the first-ever position dedicated to bridging the gap between research, policy and practice to improve the response to individuals and communities impacted by crime victimization. Through this role she facilitated collaboration across federal, state and local government partners, practitioners, researchers, and directly impacted communities in the implementation of equitable, data-driven policies and programs nationwide.
These efforts included working on the design and launch of the first-ever national Victim Services Statistical Research Program, and supporting the equitable distribution of federal funds. Warnken worked with multiple cities in their efforts to address and reduce violence through the DOJ-led Public Safety Partnership, including leading a comprehensive assessment focused on boys and men of color and people impacted by gun violence in Baltimore. She also served on the Federal Interagency Reentry Council, the National Resource Center for Reaching Victims, the Estimating the Financial Costs of Victimization study, and the Collective Healing National Demonstration Initiative, working with five cities to promote trauma informed- responses, accountability and trust-building between police and the communities they serve.
Prior to DOJ, Warnken spent five years as a legal policy associate at the Warren Institute on Law & Social Policy at University of California, Berkeley School of Law. While there, she worked on multidisciplinary initiatives in criminal and juvenile justice reform, including leading two statewide needs assessments on how to improve access to services and compensation for underserved survivors of crime. She also worked as a research partner for Californians for Safety and Justice; as program director for the Mitigating the Effects of Poverty component of the Partners for Each and Every Child initiative; and as a consultant for the City and County of San Francisco, writing policies to improve outcomes for youth, families and staff impacted by the juvenile justice system.
Warnken clerked for the Hon. Joseph F. Murphy on the Court of Appeals of Maryland, and she has provided pro bono legal assistance in a range of civil, criminal and administrative matters. She has authored numerous publications, testified in state legislatures, and presented her work at dozens of conferences and other venues throughout the country. She was a 2015 Women's Foundation of California Criminal Justice Fellow, a 2014 New Leaders Council Fellow, and was profiled in Refinery29's Month of Visionaries series for her innovative work to promote dignity and healing for survivors. She holds an LL.M. from UC Berkeley School of Law (where she received the Fahey Award for deep commitment to ending violence against women); a J.D., cum laude with pro bono distinction, from Suffolk University Law School, and a B.A., with honors, from Johns Hopkins University.