Mayor de Blasio Appoints Marcos Gonzalez Soler to Head Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice

March 26, 2021


NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that Marcos Soler will head the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. As Director, Soler will oversee citywide criminal justice policy and develop and implement strategies across city agencies and partners to enhance public safety. Soler will play a critical role in implementing the City’s police reform plan and also serve as the Mayor’s representative to the courts, district attorneys, and state criminal justice agencies, among others.

“Throughout my Administration we’ve seen the incredible impact of the Cure Violence Movement and Crisis Management System in neighborhoods across our city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Now, as we build a recovery for all of us, it’s time to deepen that work. I trust that Marcos will lead the charge to bring us back, all while keeping New York City the safest big city in America.”

“For seven years, this administration has shown that it is possible to reduce both crime and imprisonment with fairer, more targeted enforcement and innovative community-based strategies across the entire justice system. MOCJ has played a critical role in advancing the most ambitious and successful changes to operations of the criminal justice the City has seen in decades,” said Marcos Gonzalez Soler, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. “It has been my privilege to work alongside the dedicated, hardworking, and immensely talented staff that make up our office for years as chief of staff. Now as director, it will be my honor to continue to advance the mayor’s agenda of criminal justice reform.”

Marcos Gonzalez Soler has served as Chief of Staff at the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice since 2015. Before that, Soler was the deputy executive director for policy and strategic initiatives at the Civilian Complaint Review Board. He worked closely with the board in conceptualizing and implementing major initiatives at the CCRB, including the implementation of the administrative prosecution unit and the drafting of several policy reports and recommendations. He served as acting executive director from February to April of 2013.

Soler also served as deputy federal monitor in the agreement for the sustainable reform of the Puerto Rico Police Department, the largest reform agreement in the United States. Between 2009 and 2011, he was a board member and treasurer of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE).

Soler serves as an adjunct faculty member in the political science department at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. At John Jay, Soler developed the first of its kind graduate level course in public oversight of law enforcement in coordination with National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement. He had also taught in the NYPD executive master program in criminal justice at John Jay.

Soler holds a Master’s in public policy and management and a Ph.D. in politics from The New School University, where he was the recipient of the Hannah Arendt Award for the best dissertation in politics. He was a doctoral research fellow in jurisprudence at the University of Valencia School of Law and a research fellow at the Spanish Center for Constitutional Studies. He holds several graduate and law degrees from several European universities, including University of Valencia Law School & University of Valencia, the European Academy of Legal theory, the International Institute for the Sociology of Law, and the Spanish National Center for Constitutional Studies. Additionally, he is a graduate of the New York City Leadership Institute and a recipient of the Mayor’s Graduate Scholarship program. A native of Spain, Soler moved to New York City in 1998. He lives with his wife, a public-school teacher, and children on Staten Island.

“Over the last seven years the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice has played a critical role conceptualizing, implementing, and coordinating significant change in our justice system—from developing the historic plan to close Rikers to creative gun violence prevention and community-led safety initiatives,” Susan Herman, Director of ThriveNYC, said. “We have seen dramatic changes in every part of the criminal justice system largely due to MOCJ’s efforts and Marcos Soler has been a valuable member of the leadership team that has made it happen. As he takes the helm, I congratulate him and look forward to continuing to work together to make New York a safer, fairer, and healthier city.”

“Marcos’ expertise on the issues is matched by his commitment to making New York City a more just and equitable place. He is absolutely the right person to lead the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice,” said CCRB Executive Director Jonathan Darche. “The CCRB looks forward to working with Marcos and MOCJ on implementing police reforms and empowering civilian oversight in our City.”

“I look forward to working with Marcos in building a fairer criminal justice system,” said Community Affairs Unit Commissioner Roberto Perez. “I am confident that Marcos will successfully advance this administration’s community-focused policies like the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety, borough-based jails, and NYPD reform.”

“The State Court system has an excellent working relationship with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. We look forward to continuing that partnership with Marcos Soler as the new Director. As the court system incrementally returns to normal operations, our good relationships with our criminal justice partners will be more important than ever,” said Lawrence K. Marks, Chief Administrative Judge of the New York State Unified Court System.

“Over the last eleven years my Office and the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice have delivered a series of groundbreaking reforms to right-size our justice system and strengthen our communities, culminating in our joint initiative to bring the City’s award-winning, nationally recognized pre-trial services program to all five boroughs,” Cyrus Vance, Jr., Manhattan District Attorney, said. “We are excited to continue our strong collaboration with MOCJ in partnership with Marcos Soler, a deeply talented public servant and change agent.”

“I congratulate Marcos Soler for his appointment as the new director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. I look forward to continue to work with MOCJ to improve public safety and strengthen community trust in the justice system, and I know that Marcos will be an important partner in these efforts,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.

“My office and the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice have shared a close partnership for many years, working jointly with MOCJ’s dedicated and passionate staff, on myriad initiatives to enhance public safety and improve the criminal justice system for all,” Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon said. “I look forward to continuing to work with Director Marcos Soler and General Counsel and Deputy Director for Crime Strategies Deanna Logan, as they take on their respective new leadership roles and as we pursue new actions and impactful initiatives to help serve the people of Staten Island and our entire City.”

Queen District Attorney Melinda Katz said, “I would like to offer my congratulations to the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice’s newest director Marcos Soler. In my time as the District Attorney of Queens County, this office has worked in partnership with MOCJ to make sure all New Yorkers are safe and protected while also dispensing justice in a fair and equitable way. During this health pandemic, MOCJ has been an incredible partner bringing together stakeholders, fostering cooperation and communications during this very challenging time in our City’s history. We look forward to working as a team with Director Soler and the new leadership to advance justice in meaningful ways that both elevate the level of trust with the communities we serve and promote initiatives for positive change.”

“New York City has significant challenges to address regarding criminal justice reform,” said Council Member Keith Powers. “From addressing our recovery from COVID-19 to ensuring the timely closure of Rikers Island, I look forward to working toward progress together. Congratulations to Marcos on his appointment.”

“I congratulate Marcos Soler for his appointment as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, and I look forward to working with him to reform policing in New York City and to keep our City safe,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams. “There is still more work to be done to make our City fairer and safer, and I am eager to work with MOCJ to accomplish these much-needed reforms.”

“Dr. Marcos Soler is an extraordinarily strong leader and dedicated professional that understands policing and police reform,” said Col. Arnaldo Claudio (ret), member of the US Congress Capitol Review Task Force 1-6 and former federal police monitor of Puerto Rico. “Dr. Soler was originally appointed to the position of member of the federal police reform team and, two years later, the district court appointed Dr. Soler to the position of deputy federal monitor due to its extraordinary work in the implementation of the agreement for the sustainable reform of the police in Puerto Rico. Dr. Soler understands well that public safety, police accountability, and the community’s trust in its police force are interdependent.”

“The Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice has done masterful work over the years, carefully advising Mayor de Blasio on charting a course that has resulted in substantial reductions in both crime and incarceration, helping to make New York City one of the safest and least incarcerated cities in the country,” Vincent Schiraldi co-director of the Columbia University Justice Lab, said. “I am confident that Marcos Soler will continue MOCJ’s stellar work and I applaud Mayor de Blasio for his selection.”

“The Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice had the foresight to create an avenue for clergy to work with partners across New York City to combat gun violence, which was the first program of its kind in the city,” said Pastor Gil Monrose, President of the 67th Precinct Clergy Council, Inc.  “We are delighted to be a part of the group of experienced clergy working with the City’s Crisis Management System and the Office of Neighborhood Safety to do this cutting-edge work in the City’s most impacted communities. We look forward to continuing our partnership with MOCJ under its new leadership and working together to expand on our efforts to end gun violence in New York City and beyond.”

“Under the de Blasio administration, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice has emerged as a critical driver of justice reform—from promoting policies to reduce arrests and pedestrian stops, to overseeing dramatic reductions in pretrial detention,” said Jeremy Travis, Executive Vice President of Criminal Justice at Arnold Ventures and former president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “Marcos Soler has been a key member of the leadership team advancing these reforms. He is smart, creative, and a critical thinker. Now, as Director of MOCJ, he will provide the leadership needed to sustain this unprecedented forward momentum.”

“As a co-architect of the Crisis Management System, and one of the first Cure Violence Global sites in the City of New York, it has been an absolute game changer to work alongside the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice,” said AT Mitchell, Founder & Executive Director at Man Up! Inc. “They possess the understanding of communities like East New York, Brownsville, Bed-Stuy and others across the City that are at the forefront of what public safety should look and feel like. It has been an absolutely pleasure working alongside the Office of Neighborhood Safety, and I look forward to working MOCJ’s new director.”

“The Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice plays an incredibly important role in New York City’s criminal justice infrastructure. With his wealth of experience and practical knowledge, Marcos is the perfect person to lead the office during this time in New York City’s history,” Aubrey Fox, Executive Director of the Criminal Justice Agency, said. “I look forward to continuing to work with Marcos and his team as a critical partner and thought leader in building a more fair and effective pretrial justice process.”

“Osborne has had a long and productive relationship with New York City, providing mitigation services to people facing charges in NYC courts and their defense attorneys, connecting children with their incarcerated parents via video visits, providing Alternatives to Incarceration like substance use treatment and youth development, providing full-service Workforce Development services to people with justice system involvement, shortening detention time for people detained at Rikers on Technical Parole Violations, and offering discharge planning and connection to community services to thousands of individuals leaving Rikers Island each year,” said Elizabeth Gaynes President and CEO of the Osborne Association. “We congratulate Marcos Gonzalez Soler on his appointment as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. We look forward to working with him and his team to build on the current successes and address existing and emerging challenges as the City moves to close Rikers Island and build more restorative and effective modes of justice,”

“Safe Horizon, the nation’s largest non-profit victim services organization, applauds the naming of Marcos Soler to be Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. We have found Mr. Soler to be a collaborative partner who is committed to reducing violence and helping victims and survivors to access safety and healing,” Liz Roberts, CEO of Safe Horizon, said. “As the City grapples with a continuing health crisis, a rise in gun violence and an ongoing racial reckoning, it is more important than ever that we have leadership that recognizes how these issues intertwine. We are excited to continue our work with Mr. Soler in his new capacity and look forward to partnering to help build safer communities for all New Yorkers.”

JoAnne Page, President and CEO of The Fortune Society, said, “For decades, The Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice has been a strong supporter of The Fortune Society, working closely with us on critical policy issues including ending mass incarceration, growing Alternatives to Incarceration programs, and reducing the number of mentally ill people in jail.  Significantly during the pandemic, MOCJ’s partnership was key in helping Fortune open a new supportive housing program to obtain the release from incarceration of people who suffer with behavioral health challenges. We are deeply appreciative of Marcos Soler’s committee to Fortune’s mission and we look forward to continuing our work with MOCJ under his new leadership.”

“MOCJ has been instrumental in ongoing, critical reforms to New York City’s criminal legal system. MOCJ’s support and partnership have been essential in CASES’ delivery of alternatives to incarceration since 1967,” Joel Copperman, Chief Executive Officer of CASES, said. “New and expanded investments in alternative-to-incarceration, pretrial, and innovative community-based programming continue to help thousands of youth and adults—including individuals living with serious mental illness—to remain in the community while accessing support to address challenges and achieve goals, including in education, employment, and health. CASES looks forward to working with Director Soler to strengthen justice within the City’s criminal legal system including by maintaining progress toward closing Rikers Island.

“We look forward to working with Marcos Gonzalez Soler in his position as director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. MOCJ has been a critical driver of important reforms, including the plan to close the jails on Rikers Island. The Center for Court Innovation is proud to be a key partner in the city’s efforts to reduce the use of incarceration, shrink reliance on police, and provide communities with the resources and partnerships they need to maintain safe and thriving neighborhoods. Through collaboration and innovation, we can build on the strengths of successful programs like Supervised Release and Neighborhood Safety Initiatives to ensure a healthy and thriving city for everyone,” Courtney Bryan, Executive Director of the Center for Court Innovation, said.

 “MOCJ has been an invaluable partner and force in removing barriers to successful re-entry for Exodus participants, and for our residents at the Exodus-run re-entry hotels,” said Julio Medina, founder and Executive Director of Exodus Transitional Community. “We are extremely grateful for this partnership and are excited to continue our work with MOCJ under the direction of Marcus Soler. We are confident that he will continue to pursue the City’s commitment to trauma-informed justice and culture change and finding creative solutions to restore stability to those impacted by the justice system while creating new opportunities for individuals to succeed.”