Meet Mike

Mike Schmidt currently serves as the executive director of the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission. In this role, Mike oversees a $90 million budget and spearheads community-based efforts to reform our state’s approach to criminal justice. Mike is also a former high school teacher and frontline prosecutor.

Mike Schmidt has been a resident of Southeast Portland since 2005, when he moved to the city where he met his wife, Clare, a Portland native. They own a small home where they are raising their son, a dog, a cat, and three chickens. Mike enjoys playing darts, board games, watching the Blazers and the Saints, and spending time with his family exploring Oregon. 

Mike moved to Oregon after teaching in public high schools in New Orleans. As a teacher, he observed the school-to-prison pipeline firsthand. His students were victims of crime, witnesses to crime, children of incarcerated parents, and sometimes defendants themselves.

That experience drove Mike to study criminal law at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland. Former Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schrunk gave him his first chance to practice criminal law, as an intern and as a deputy DA.

In the DA’s office, Mike worked on misdemeanors, property crime felonies, drug courts, and he led a project to get restitution for victims of crime.

In 2013, Mike worked for the state legislature as counsel to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. After the legislative session, Mike was hired by the Criminal Justice Commission to implement the new Justice Reinvestment program statewide. Justice Reinvestment is a program that gets to the root causes of crime.

In 2015, the governor appointed Mike to be the Director of the Criminal Justice Commission. As Director, Mike has led projects that have made our criminal justice system more transparent, fought for legislation that decreases racial disparities and for treating addiction like a health issue, not a criminal justice issue.

In this role, Mike has advocated for ending cash bail and collaborated with legislators and health experts on legislation focused on the intersection of behavioral health and the criminal justice system.

Mike was elected by his peers to be Vice President of the National Criminal Justice Association. He was also elected to the board of the National Association of Sentencing Commissions. He has also served on the Governor’s Reentry Council, the Prison Forecast Advisory Committee and The Attorney General’s Bias Crime and Incident Steering Committee. His agency has been recognized repeatedly as a leader in national research with multiple awards.

Mike Schmidt currently serves as the executive director of the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission. In this role, Mike oversees a $90 million budget and spearheads community-based efforts to reform our state’s approach to criminal justice. Mike is also a former high school teacher and frontline prosecutor.

Mike Schmidt has been a resident of Southeast Portland since 2005, when he moved to the city where he met his wife, Clare, a Portland Native. They own a small home where they are raising their son, a dog, a cat, and three chickens. Mike enjoys playing darts, board games, watching the Blazers and the Saints, and spending time with his family exploring Oregon.


Mike moved to Oregon after teaching in public high schools in New Orleans. As a teacher, he observed the school-to-prison pipeline firsthand. His students were victims of crime, witnesses to crime, children of incarcerated parents, and sometimes defendants themselves.

That experience drove Mike to study criminal law at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland. Former Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schrunk gave him his first chance to practice criminal law, as an intern and as a deputy DA.

In the DA’s office, Mike worked on misdemeanors, property crime felonies, drug courts, and he led a project to get restitution for victims of crime.

In 2013, Mike worked for the state legislature as counsel to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. After the legislative session, Mike was hired by the Criminal Justice Commission to implement the new Justice Reinvestment program statewide. Justice Reinvestment is a program that gets to the root causes of crime.

In 2015, the governor appointed Mike to be the Director of the Criminal Justice Commission. As Director, Mike has led projects that have made our criminal justice system more transparent, fought for legislation that decreases racial disparities and for treating addiction like a health issue, not a criminal justice issue.

In this role, Mike has advocated for ending cash bail and collaborated with legislators and health experts on legislation focused on the intersection of behavioral health and the criminal justice system.

Mike was elected by his peers to be Vice President of the National Criminal Justice Association. He was also elected to the board of the National Association of Sentencing Commissions. He has also served on the Governor’s Reentry Council, the Prison Forecast Advisory Committee and The Attorney General’s Bias Crime and Incident Steering Committee. His agency has been recognized repeatedly as a leader in national research with multiple awards.