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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.

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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The Challenge of Criminal Justice Reform | By Bruce Western (January 2019)

Efforts to reverse mass incarceration need to address the social conditions of poverty, racial inequality, and violence in which punitive criminal justice policy has expanded. Efforts that aim only to reduce prison populations, or neglect the harsh socioeconomic conditions in poor communities of color, will fail to sustainably reduce the burdens of over-imprisonment. A new, socially-integrative, vision of community health and economic flourishing is the best way to respond to the problem of violence in contexts of poverty and racial injustice.

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Reconsidering the “Violent Offender” | By James Austin, Vincent Schiraldi, Bruce Western, and Anamika Dwivedi (May 2019)

The “violent offender” label has contributed greatly to the punitiveness of the U.S. criminal justice system. As correctional populations skyrocketed from the early 1970s to 2014, sentence length increased disproportionately for people convicted of violent crimes. The violent offender label poorly fits the empirical reality of violent crime, distorts notions of proportionality, fails to serve as an effective predictive tool for future violent behavior and is a serious, but often unjustified, obstacle to ending mass incarceration.

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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.


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On Tuesday, 5/26 at 5 PM CT, we welcome a distinguished panel to discuss the impacts of #COVID19 across the country & how the #pandemic ... might shape our views of #incarceration moving forward

Featuring: @VanJones68, @NnekaTapia, & @nprcherylcorley


Today we introduce the COVID-19 Edition of "Why Am I Always Being Researched?" A guidebook for community organizations, researchers, & ... funders to address unintended bias in research as it relates to COVID-19. Read more and download here: #researchequity

Another great session to start the day. Inspire and be inspired. Thank you Brandon!

We're proud to be helping an awesome team of lawyers--@ACLUofMichigan @CivRightsCorps @adv_project--to protect prisoners at Michigan's ... Oakland County Jail from the deadly spread of COVID-19. Here's the stay response we filed in the Sixth Circuit today:

Big News Indeed! Congrats @desmondmeade @Volzie and @FLRightsRestore. Huge win for families, communities and for Florida.🙏🏿🙏🏿

When the #Ohio Senate JC meets about #SB3 today, we hope they remember that the bill is a bipartisan solution to the addiction crisis that ... can help put an end to the cycle of addiction and strengthen Ohio.

Glad to be in partnership to provide masks @gherbo #timedone #stopthespread

Always one of my favorite events.

Though we can’t celebrate together in person right now, rest assured we will honor these outstanding ... efforts and host this event again later this year. #NationalPoliceWeek

It’s National Police Week.

To those who put on the badge and keep our communities safe, thank you for your service. I am honored to work... with you.

For those who have given their lives in the line of duty, your service is not forgotten.

Incredible. This stunning video captures the miracle of life and motherhood — taken by my sister-in-law @RedSkiesYoga from her bedroom ... window yesterday morning.

Happy Mother’s Day.

How many people are acting with reopening makes me understand our widely diminishing discipline & compassion. Let’s do better!

Thank you, Tempe HOPE team! The HOPE team is working tirelessly to provide COVID-19 education, food, water and hygiene items to the city’s... most vulnerable. As outreach specialists engage, they are helping complete housing applications and providing info about social services.

NEW: Cops and union officials have been predicting a crime wave as cities reduce low-level arrests and release the jailed to slow the spread... of #COVID19.

But in Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and San Francisco, data show big drops in crime reports.

Mecklenburg County is excited to receive ongoing funding from #MacFound to build on criminal justice reform.

Humbled & honored to have the confidence of my colleagues and NC Chief Justice to lead Mecklenburg District Court as Chief Judge. I will... work to ensure that all people are treated with dignity and fairness. My gratitude for the support and help I have received is boundless.

New research brief on Ferguson effect by Rosenfeld and Wallman. No evidence for hypothesis, voiced by some law enforcement leaders, that ... protesting racial injustice increased homicide rates

It's a tragedy when anyone dies because they were in forced proximity in a jail full of medically vulnerable folks. It's doubly tragic when ... the only reason they were locked up was for missing appointments. Thx for your help, @SpitfireSays #LessIsMoreNY

Tune in May 28th at 12pm EDT to hear @VinSchiraldi on a @safeandjustmi panel moderated by @JoshuaBHoe

"The Evidence-Based Case for Ending ... Sex Offender Registries"

Register here:

They’re looked at as leaders,” [MOCJ's Eric Cumberbatch] said. “And they have inroads and touch with a very vulnerable population, ... which are usually young people that government and city agencies struggle to have contact with in a productive fashion.”

Check out the new online home for the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety, better known as MAP — a groundbreaking strategy that ... elevates and empowers community voices! 1/5

NYC's Crisis Management System continues to lift communities and help them heal in response to #COVID19. Thank you to @elite_learners ... @SOS_Brooklyn @riseprojectnyc and so many others who are supporting New Yorkers stay safe and healthy (via @News12BK)

Restoring voting rights to people with criminal records is justice reform meeting democracy. Justice and democracy took a step forward today... in Florida.

HUGE: Court just declared #Florida’s conditioning voting rights restoration on payment of fines & fees #unconstitutional. It’s ... wealth discrimination and violates due process, plus a kind of poll tax under 24th Am. Will impact hundreds of thousands. #Amendment4

Wow! A US District Court just ruled against a Florida law that conditioned voter registration on payment of court fines and fees.

I am so honored to join this incredible group of changemakers at such a critical time for our work at @common_justice, our movement to end ... mass incarceration, and our world.

In Florida, people with felony records are fighting to regain their voting rights. But the coronavirus has made that struggle more ... difficult. @IvetteF_News spoke to @desmondmeade, of @FLRightsRestore, to learn more.

Tune-in tomorrow for a discussion on violence & economic recovery.
Our guests include @daniellesered & Andrea Batista. Danielle ... Sered, Exec Dir of @Common_Justice Justice. Andrea Batista Schlesinger, HR&A Advisors Consulting, shaping economic recovery to reduce COVID-19.

Thanks for this awesome opportunity, @CFBurdeen!

The Oregonian calls Multnomah County District Attorney for Mike Schmidt.

Look at what my brilliant husband created! @creative_adams

Pennington County Deputies are out and about this holiday weekend. Our Boat Patrol was at Sheridan Lake today. It was cold and our team ... rescued two middle school girls in a paddle boat. Wind stopped them from getting to shore and we towed them in.

We’re looking for a full-time Juvenile Services Center teacher starting in August, 2020. $1,552 bi-weekly pay (negotiable based on ... experience) to work w/ juveniles in detention. Small class size, no after-hours, lots of advantages! (605) 394-6113

Care Campus recognizes Clinical Supervisor Kate Dietz as Employee of the Month! With COVID-19, Kate found ways to continue to provide ... addiction treatment services and patient support remotely via tele-health. Thank you, Kate!

A powerful advocate for justice has stepped up to launch Clean Slate Initiative, combining a game-changing idea with a visionary leader. ... Wow! Congratulations @sheena_meade.

Doug Wood: a new vision of justice. Now Is the Time to Transform the Criminal Justice System - The Aspen Institute ... via @aspeninstitute. #JusticeisTheNextNormal

John Jay College may be Pat Murphy’s greatest legacy. After the riots in the 1960s when police lost public confidence, PVM, a captain in ... the NYPD, wrote a plan to create a college to educate police officers. Since then 5000+ JJC alumni have served in the NYPD. That’s legacy!

finally. something to celebrate. "US imprisonment rate at its lowest since 1996" :

Medical residents are on the frontlines and we make approx an average of 17$ per hour.

Again. $17/hr.

That how much the people risking ... their lives on the frontlines are making.

Your Starbucks barista makes more per hour.

Protect us. Give us PPE and stay home.

Today, my health system took a big step: Notified staff that they're adopting the model described here, with face masks at all times & a... health check each shift for even mild ill symptoms. Effective Wednesday. Kudos to @PartnersNews @BrighamWomens @MassGeneralNews

Just learned that Slow Burn Season 4 is about David Duke, which I really hope includes a deep dive into the "sexual self-help book" for ... women that he wrote in the 1970s.

Related: Duke's lewdness led one fellow Klansman to accuse him of "conduct unbecoming a racist."

I know this might seem really random, but my heart goes out to all the new grandparents out there who haven’t been able to hold their ... grandbabies.

We must remember them all—including Detroit’s Laneeka Barksdale. I’ll never forget her brother telling me she refused to let her ... family drive her to the hospital because she didn’t want them to get sick. It was the last time they saw her alive.

The Psychology of Entrenched Privilege: High Socioeconomic Status Individuals From Affluent Backgrounds Are Uniquely High in Entitlement - ... Stéphane Côté, Jennifer E. Stellar, Robb Willer, Rachel C. Forbes, Sean R. Martin, Emily C. Bianchi,

Best thing I read today on the social dimensions of COVID-19: @alondra introduces a remarkable set of essays on society and social science ... after the pandemic:

Beautiful set of essays on CV. #SocsciCoronavirus.

They were us.

We miss Tim. We miss them all.

Eid Murbarak!

To our Muslim family members - I pray this holy month of #Ramadan brought you Love, Peace and Reflection.

“I’m raising money for personal protective equipment so my community has the basic necessities they need to not die from the ... pandemic.” @Ms_EagleHeart of @return2heartfdn #RootsOfRacism #BuildingSolidarity

JUST RELEASED: @square1justice dream team of Arthur Rizer @arthurrizer and Tracey Meares @mearest discuss the consequences of overusing ... pretrial detention in a new paper: The “Radical” Notion of the Presumption of Innocence.

Check out JC affiliate Michael Sierra-Arévalo's @michaelsierraa latest piece for the @washingtonpost - Is armed protest by African ... Americans treated differently? History says yes.

This is a super helpful and informative op ed. ...

@acnewsitics @JoeBiden Can this be a political ad? How his mental health has deteriorated to the point where he can't deal with a crisis. No... word on his physical either, wonder why?

Here you go @JoeBiden the 30 second ads write themselves. It took me 10 minutes to make this. Trump golfs while Americans die. Let me know ... what you guys think.

My mom is sheltering in place in Memphis - it is so hard for her to be alone for so long, even with lots of phone calls. Thank you, Memphis ... faith leaders, for this loving encouragement to her and so many as they continue! #LoveInAction #StayAlive

Strong case that a “presumption of liberty” must accompany the presumption of innocence for it to actually exist. Great @square1justice ... paper from the brilliant minds of @mearest and @arthurrizer #JusticeIsTheNextNormal

So much wisdom and power here! Thanks to @Grei_sa @dviyer @MsPackyetti for joining @firstpatty and @TheRabenGroup for this discussion of ... resilience. #ThanksINeededThat #ReimagineJustice

Thank you for reading. I have spent a good part of my life as a soldier, police officer, and prosecutor and I assure you I am “interested ... in learning,” especially about the profession I love. The best ideas come debate.... not ad hominem pokes - but thanks for struggling through

Help Andrea Circle Bear's Family ...

“It was the smell of ... death, it was the death of a person’s hope, it was the death of a person’s ability to live the American ... dream.” @square1justice @arthurrizer @mearest @YaleLawSch @JCollaboratory #cjreform

WATCH: Lindsey Must Go is dedicated to kicking @LindseyGrahamSC out of the Senate in 2020 -- and we’re live with our first ad. #SCSen

Florida Law Restricting Felon Voting Is Unconstitutional, Judge Rules ...

Restoring voting rights to people with criminal records is justice reform meeting democracy. Justice and democracy took a step forward today... in Florida.

Why would I smile and do “Horns Up”? A University of Texas graduate helping me change a blowout on I-40 in 5 pm trafffic! His name ... Francisco De Soto, 37-year-old mechanical engineer, from El Paso, Texas. Francisco had no idea who he was helping! @UTAustin #mechanicalengineering

“You don’t have any treatment options, or at least it seems to them that they don’t, so many judges and prosecutors feel that they ... have no choice but to lock people up." -- a quote from @ProfPamMetzger of @SMULawDeason in this important @NYTimes article:

Getting ready for @NobelPrize Award Cermony with Laureate John Goodenough