Brian Ostrom

Brian J. Ostrom, Ph.D., is a Principal Court Research Consultant with the National Center for State Courts in Williamsburg, Virginia.  Dr. Ostrom has extensive training and experience in performance evaluation and using a wide range of quantitative and qualitative analysis techniques to understand and overcome problems in the courts.  Since joining NCSC in 1989, his main research activities have focused on many subject areas including the study of felony sentencing and the development of structured sentencing systems, civil justice reform, the methodology of judge and staff workload assessment, and court organizational development and performance assessment.

In recent years, Dr. Ostrom has served as the principal investigator for large-scale judicial system workload studies in the states of Michigan (1997-98), Florida (1999-2000), California (2000-03), Minnesota (2002-03), New Hampshire (2004-05), and Wisconsin (2005-06) as well as the Maryland public defender system (2003-05).  He is currently working on resource assessment projects in California, Florida, and Texas.

In addition, he is assisting several state court systems with efforts to improve court organizational effectiveness through careful assessment of court management culture and court performance.  He led the development of the Court Culture Assessment Instrument and the CourTools performance measurement system.  

Additional project work in the area of felony sentencing focuses on the use of alternative sanctions at the time of sentencing; an evaluation of a risk assessment instrument for the diversion of non-violent offenders in Virginia; and appropriate means for Assessing Consistency and Fairness in Sentencing. 

Dr. Ostrom also brings extensive knowledge of state court operations through having served as the director of the Court Statistics Project from 1994 to 2004. 

Prior to joining the National Center, Dr. Ostrom worked as a research analyst for the Michigan State Court Administrative Office.  Dr. Ostrom received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Washington. In addition, Dr. Ostrom teaches in the economics department at the College of William and Mary and is a faculty member for the Institute for Court Management

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