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The Executive Session on the Future of Justice Policy

The Executive Session on the Future of Justice Policy brings together more than two dozen researchers, practitioners, policy makers, advocates, and community representatives to generate and cultivate new ideas around the work to reimagine justice.  The Executive Session was created with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as part of the Safety and Justice Challenge, which seeks to reduce over-incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails.

Executive Session Papers

While the Executive Session meetings themselves are off-the-record, Session members publish papers intended to catalyze thinking and policy reform solutions that can reduce incarceration and develop new responses to violence and other social problems that can emerge under conditions of poverty and racial inequality.

Protecting and Serving Victims — Their Way, Not Ours | By Melissa Nelson and Kevin Thom (June 2021)

June 2021 | Executive Session on the Future of Justice Policy Protecting and Serving Victims – Their Way, Not Ours EXECUTIVE SUMMARY FULL REPORT PRESS RELEASE Overview As a prosecutor and a sheriff, we have seen countless and compelling moments where the best of our work has translated into positive victim support in the aftermath…

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The Power of Parsimony | By Daryl Atkinson and Jeremy Travis (May 2021)

May 2021 | Executive Session on the Future of Justice Policy The Power of Parsimony Full Report Executive Summary Overview As our country comes to terms with the damage caused by our excessive reliance on punishment as a response to crime, the use of the criminal law to sustain racial hierarchies, and the ways the…

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Harm Reduction at the Center of Incarceration | By Dr. Nneka Jones Tapia (April 2021)

Everyone within a correctional facility––both the staff and the people housed there––is exposed to trauma at a significantly higher rate than the general population. In this sense, the institution itself is traumatic. And because of the connective tissue that exists among all of us, the effect of this traumatic system spreads beyond the walls of an institution and into families and communities. Physical and procedural transformation of correctional facilities is imperative to promoting harm reduction at large. The STAAC framework for harm reduction can guide necessary shifts in correctional system policy, procedure, and training to support the health of correctional staff and their families, the people housed in the facility and their families, and the broader community.

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Social Fabric: A New Model for Public Safety and Vital Neighborhoods | By Elizabeth Glazer and Patrick Sharkey (March 2021)

Should the police own safety? For the past forty years, localities across the country have responded with a resounding “yes,” as the primary response to crime has been to call upon the police and criminal justice system. That approach has come with harms, long understood in communities of color and further underscored last summer by the protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death. These harms undermine the trust that should be the very foundation of any system of justice. This paper argues that there is a different and more durable model, based on the oldest of ideas and eminently doable, especially in this moment of pandemic-straitened budgets: tight-knit communities, where residents are brought together through local institutions and have access to basic civic resources, are the places where safety thrives.

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Learned Helplessness, Criminalization, and Victimization in Vulnerable Youth | By Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo, Evangeline Lopoo, and Anamika Dwivedi (December 2020)

DECEMBER 2020 | Executive Session on the Future of Justice Policy Learned Helplessness, Criminalization, and Victimization in Vulnerable Youth Full Report Executive Summary Overview The United States detains youth in a multitude of settings – the criminal legal system, immigrant detention centers, the foster care system, and more – at rates far higher than global…

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Understanding Health Reform as Justice Reform | By Lynda Zeller and Jackie Prokop (November 2020)

November 2020 | Executive Session on the Future of Justice Policy Understanding Health Reform as Justice Reform Full Report Executive Summary Press Release Overview Justice reform strategies to reduce mass incarceration will not be successful without healthcare and social supports for persons with chronic health conditions. This intersection of health and justice holds the potential…

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Can We Eliminate the Youth Prison? (And What Should We Replace It With)? | By Vincent Schiraldi (June 2020)

Since the turn of the 21st century, youth and adult crime rates in the United States have plummeted. While youth incarceration declined in turn, adult incarceration increased. This paper describes the scope and scale of youth decarceral efforts in the last twenty years and the increasing costs of youth incarceration in remote, large facilities. The author offers alternatives to youth institutionalization co-designed by communities, keeping kids close to home and within trusted social and familial networks. The success of the youth decarceral movement, while far from complete, offers lessons learned to adult system reformers.

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The “Radical” Notion of the Presumption of Innocence | By Arthur Rizer and Tracey Meares (May 2020)

The presumption of innocence has been a bulwark of the American justice system since the nation’s founding. Yet, the current scope and scale of pretrial detention prevents us from putting the principle into practice. Shockingly, the vast majority of individuals held in county jails are awaiting adjudication of the charges against them and, therefore, have not been found guilty of a crime meriting punishment. Recognizing this reality, the authors argue that the constitutionally-based presumption of innocence must be supported by a judicial presumption of liberty because the currently-operating justification for holding someone in jail prior to adjudication presumes that person has committed the offense for which they are charged.

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Racial Justice in Criminal Justice Practice | By Abbey Stamp (October 2019)

Criminal justice practitioners tend to see disparities in arrest and incarceration as the product of racial differences in crime. The racial disparity in criminal justice involvement can thus be dismissed as beyond the control of police, courts, and service providers. The experience of the Multnomah County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council suggests concrete strategies for overcoming racial disparities, and points to the pivotal role of Criminal Justice Coordinating Councils for building racially-just criminal justice policy.

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A Call for New Criminal Justice Values | By Arthur Rizer (January 2019)

For most of the early and middle 20th century, rehabilitation guided criminal justice policies, but in the 1970s and 1980s, notions of retribution, deterrence, and incapacitation emerged as replacements and signaled a dramatic shift. Now, as we enter an era of criminal justice reform, it is time for a new set of values. Parsimony in criminal punishment, which seeks the least coercive response, can undo the damage of overreaching incarceration and serves the more fundamental values of liberty and limited government, which embody a distinctively American commitment to human freedom.

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Meet Our Executive Session Members

More than two-dozen individuals from a diverse range of professions and roles comprise our Executive Session. By bringing together diverse perspectives, the Executive Session tests and pushes its participants to challenge their own thinking and consider new options.


Join the conversation

Managing a household is a full time job and I can’t believe we do this on top of external full time jobs and/or running businesses.

Must Prison Be Traumatic? This trauma unwraps like the layers of an onion, expanding past the incarcerated to staff and communities. Check ... out our new podcast with @NnekaTapia: full episode here @AspenInstitute @Chicago_Beyond @square1justice

Could prisons and jails be places of healing? The new @aspencjri @AspenInstitute Shades of Freedom podcast features @chicago_beyond's ... @NnekaTapia, a former Warden of the Cook County Jail, discussing a new @square1justice report.

Whenever a gov official does something good, no matter how basic or obvious it is, it seems critical for non-profits to remind you they’ve... been asking for that banal, incremental change all along. It’s almost like saying “in a world of strongly worded letters, ours came first.”

hi- i am grateful that many of my political and intellectual heroes have read and affirmed my forthcoming book, Becoming Abolitionists: ... Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of Freedom. Here are a few:

Robin D. G. Kelley-

The violence of policing is everywhere in our society, from the overt physical brutality in traffic/street stops to your housing and ... healthcare, especially if you are Black, brown, or poor. There is no place their violence, racism, and predation cannot touch.

Some of the wins that @REFORM and other organizations have helped secure recently, can offer a roadmap for advocates, supervision officials,... and legislators across the country who are hoping to address the depth of the supervision crisis in their states.

Some good news in a week full of bad — a 35-year-old cold case SOLVED.
Proud of ASAs Anderson and Makarowski, @JSOPIO detectives, ... @fdlepio analysts, and @projectcoldcase for bringing answers to Leslie McCray's family.
#PursueJusticeAlways #NeverForget

This is a shocking and terrible loss for our community. Dr. Haley was a servant leader, an advocate for our city, and a wonderful person who... had a tremendous impact on those fortunate enough to know him.

Thank you again to everyone who has supported the ALS Jax CEO Soak fundraiser — in less than 2 days, you've given $3,200 to the cause.
I ... took the plunge this afternoon. The event raised $75,000 for cure research. There is still time to join my team at

If I can’t stop watching this, it means it is LEGIT - Come on, I’m a @RedSox fan- but this is delicious! Mad respect @MLB

Thank you DaBaby for bringing us together. The Court and community must reimaginejustice together.

It’s time for the courts to reckon with the ways we maintain systems of oppression and white supremacy. It’s time to #reimagineJustice ... for our Charlotte community.

The most serious consequence of the rapid militarization of American police forces, however, is the subtle evolution in the mentality of the... "men in blue" from "peace officer" to soldier. @RSI

Issues at Rikers: DOC Commissioner @VinSchiraldi spoke with @DanMannarino about ongoing violence, staffing shortages and more at the ... troubled jail complex

Watch now:

Thanks for you support and sense of urgency, @JumaaneWilliams

NYC Corrections Commissioner @VinSchiraldi & @Stan_Fortune talk about how they plan to fix the staffing crisis at city jails, & how ... they hope that'll help with other problems:

We can drive violence down, create good paying green jobs and protect our at-risk kids. Join us at City Hall as we announce 1,500 new jobs ... for our communities hit hard by gun violence.

A story of one client's resilience and the healing he found with CASES Nathaniel ACT. Thank you for sharing @CrimJusticeNYC ...

September's ATI Participant Highlight story features Antonio, whose experience in @CASESnyc's Nathaniel ACT program allowed him to take ... control of his mental health and gave him access to the support he needed to rebuild his life after leaving Rikers:

Join now as @MzDeHoskins & I discuss the connection between incarceration and employment and why #EconomicJustice must be a part of how ... we #ReimagineJustice. #JobsandJustice 👇

We're #hiring an Associate Director of Advocacy and Strategic Communication on our Youth Justice Initiatives team! Apply here to play a key ... role conceptualizing, designing, and developing products to support our place-based advocacy work:

NYC folks: some great opportunities available @CUJusticeLab with their Youth Justice Initiatives (YJI), Probation and Parole Reform Project... (PPRP), and Emerging Adult Justice Project (EAJP) teams.

Yes @DeVoneBoggan! We know what works! Blessings on your vision and leadership! ...

What an incredible moment! The House has committed $5B for Violence Intervention @TheHAVI


Mass incarceration will never keep us safe from violence. Instead of continuing to fund racially inequitable and failed responses to ... violence, we must support community interventions that prevent violence from happening in the first place.

Ankle Monitors Tether Wearers to the Carceral System: Study | The Crime Report ...

After piloting an innovative family visitation program and healing-centered practice in Cook County Jail, ES member Dr. @NnekaTapia explores... lessons learned and how we can #ReimagineJustice by reducing harm & center healing in jails and prisons. Read here👉

Thank you for the opportunity to participate and learn. @varohaub, thanks to you, "budget alchemy" as a term and concept has caught fire.

A big class of new employees joined the PCSO this week.

The goat caper has been solved. The owner is out of town but has been located.

No kidding! Found “baaaad” criminal chasing people near Long View Rd & Radar Hill Road around 10:30 this morning. He has a collar so... must be someone’s pet. Call the Humane Society if you recognize this bad actor. (605)394-4170 @HumaneSociety

I agree w/ James Doyle: the public -- esp impacted commnities -- needs to push for justice reform. Govt officials forget they work for the ... people. Data can provide transparency. @MforJ

The Missing Link in Justice Reform: People via @thecrimereport

"We don’t need to reinvent the wheel” to reduce homicides in Philadelphia, writes @Feliciapc in @PhillyInquirer. She lays out a ... framework for action adapted from a report for @Arnold_Ventures by @JohnJayREC:

Important conservative voices urge Biden to rescind the DOJ/OLC memo requiring thousands of ppl, formerly held in federal prisons, now ... living at home on home confinement, to return to prison. Why is this so hard? @famm @JusticeAction @ACLU @Arnold_Ventures

Congratulations to Brandon Hudik, @YaleMed student & researcher w/ our team, whose work "The Health Impacts fo Structural Barriers to ... Homelessness Services in New Haven" was selected for the 2021 Social Justice Scholars Award. Brandon was mentored by @howell_ben & Alana Rosenberg

“If you want to transform values into action to achieve health equity, you should use the law as your tool to do it” ... #AntiRacismInMedicine #HealthEquity #Advocacy @SocietyGIM #SGIM21 @LawDeanMatthew

In Minnesota, it is nearly impossible to hire individuals with a history of criminal justice involvement in a health care setting. This ... means people who most need care aren’t able to get support from people who have been in their shoes. It’s time for change.

Join us on Oct. 12 & Nov. 18, 3-6 PM ET for a two-day alternative mental health crisis responses workshop series on our guide, "Defund ... the Police - Invest in Community Care." Register at (and check out the full guide at

Metro Detroit Policing Infographics MT @justcitydetroit policing, Police Violence, ... Police brutality #cjreform criminology

The numbers on the #detroit flood. Thank you @PlanetDetroit

This has to be the top Norm moment, right?

I am pleased to report that my book now is out! It is available on the Chicago Press website. (Discount of 20% with code UCPSOC). [Books ... are on their way to Amazon but have not yet arrived.] Many thanks to all who gave me advice along the way.

Norm Macdonald has always been one of the only people out there who consistently makes me laugh no matter what he's talking about. It is ... very sad to hear he's no longer with us.

My 9 year old still gets headaches and my 13 yr old can’t smell or taste food. Nearly a month after Covid. I can’t understand why anyone... would want children maskless, unvaxxed and in crowded rooms at all. It breaks my heart to tell them “I don’t know when you will feel better”

I’m going to be looking for opportunities to use this phrase

In Feb ‘19 I gave the Emroch lecture @urichmond law school and saw this monument for the first time. It’s size stunned me. Remarkable ... that there was a monument so large for the general of the losing side. And now it’s gone.

It’s not just that the majority of the Supreme Court functionally ended abortion rights for most women in Texas last night merely because ... they could. via @slate

Editorial: While Donald Trump sits in Mar-a-Lago brooding over his loss to Joe Biden, all the weaknesses in our legal and constitutional ... system that he exploited remain. He left a treasure map for a future American tyrant.

“He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have... flaws, and so on ad infinitum.”

Yes @DeVoneBoggan! We know what works! Blessings on your vision and leadership! ...

"In an era in which we are rethinking the names of buildings, bridges, schools and monuments ... The literal land beneath our feet has been ... overlooked. But it matters. County names are constantly on our tongues."

A must-read piece from @RobertRaben

My article in @WashTimes on Constitution Day and Heritage's new "The Essential Constitution" - ... & @FedSoc @EdMeeseIII @tolmanbrett @DougDeason @DSafavianEsq @arthurrizer @vpreddy

First game in 2 years #gonats @Nationals with my boy @AsherRizer

Very honored that 6th Circuit Judge Chad Readler cited an article of mine on criminal justice reform in his outstanding concurrence in U.S. ... v. Kerns - - @EdMeeseIII @arthurrizer @FedSoc @tolmanbrett @vpreddy @MarcALevin

Qualified immunity is a major problem in criminal justice policy, but criminal justice is just the tip of the iceberg. This is a great ... conversation between @MattKLewis & @CaseyMattox_ about QI's full reach: cc: @WilliamBaude, @ConLawWarrior, @Steve_Vladeck

From @SLandP: "[I]n this century, I think both the politics and the practice of crime and punishment are quite nuanced and often quite ... unpredictable."