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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.

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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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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Congratulations to SQ1 Executive Session member @VinSchiraldi! We're grateful for Vinny's meaningful contributions to Square One and are ... thrilled for him and the NYC DOC.

Today is a momentous victory for incarcerated mothers & their children: The House passed the Healthy Start Act (the first all women-led ... bill in the House!) which allows pregnant incarcerated women to be placed into community settings so they can stay together with their babies.

The replay is now available for our recent Unpacking discussion with @KhalilGMuhammad and @NnekaTapia. If you would like to re-watch the ... conversation or share it with others, you can find the full event video here.

A tyrant will always justify its murder and tyranny. That’s the moral of the slaughter in Gaza. It ultimately doesn’t matter what anyone... says. They kill because they are more powerful and those who could oppose them await the next opportunity to kill with a tyrant’s impunity.

Why is the Washington Lawyers Committee giving Neal Katyal—a lawyer who argued SCOTUS cases allowing employers to force workers to give up... their right to sue over discrimination, harassment, or wage theft—an award for people with a commitment to civil rights & economic justice?

5 minutes he returns carrying 3 drinks. “They didn’t have Sprite, so I got these to choose from.” He held out the drinks, one man ... pointed to a Sunkist & said thank you as he took it. “I’m praying for you. You get out & you stay out,” the man said as he walked away. “Yes sir.” ❤️

Proud of son’s sophomore year. Second year of Varsity play. Through all the distractions he worked hard, stayed committed and produced. ... #proudpapa

Check out Nathan Rooks's Nathan Rooks 5 Game Soph. Highlights on @Hudl #hudl

Another story about new @CACorrections regs that omits or misstates important facts:

1) New rules authorized overwhelmingly by voters in ... Prop 57

2) Planned for yrs

3) No mass releases

4) Designed to incentivize rehabilitation & improve safety

This morning I enjoyed speaking with my alma mater's @UFLaw clinic students as part of the Virgil Hawkins Clinics Speaker Series. I shared a... few of the most difficult, impactful, and funny lessons I've learned during my legal career thus far. Thanks for inviting me. Go🐊!

TOMORROW at 1pm ET: Join #NCCCJ commissioners @T_Inglesby @impastormike_ @Nelson4SAO for a Q&A with @germanrlopez. The topic: #NCCCJ’s... final report outlining a roadmap toward a post-#COVID19 system that provides better safety and justice for all.

Pleased to join my colleagues on @CouncilonCJ's #NCCCJ as we release the final set of concrete steps that criminal justice leaders can take ... to contain the spread of #COVID19 and create a better post-pandemic justice system. Read more here:

Our hearts are heavy with the loss of two officers due to gun violence as they worked to protect their communities.

We're excited to welcome @VTFishWildlife to the 30x30 team—our first game wardens! It's incredible to see the diversity of organizations ... committing to the #30x30Pledge.

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

Honored to be tapped by @NYCMayor to be DOC Commish.

"Once you don't spend $$ money on lock up, you have a lot of money to spend on resources." -@VinSchiraldi


Last week, the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety (MAP) kicked off Safe Summer NYC’s Anti-Gun Violence Fair series at the Polo ... Grounds Towers!

"Safety starts in the community and is upheld by the community... for me, the earliest interventions and consistent support for communities ... are what’s called for and what’s needed." Read more of MOCJ's own Eric Cumberbatch @nytimes interview here:

To Asian American and Pacific Islander communities: We are New York City, and we are united in love and support for you in the face of hate.... We have your back.

Very exciting to see our @square1justice colleague taking the reins at NYC DOC. @VinSchiraldi is that rare combination of visionary and ... pragmatist who has national reputation as justice reformer. @WesternBruce @HuffmanKA @Vivian_D_Nixon & Square One team wish him well.

After working together these last 6 years, my friend and colleague, @VinSchiraldi is leaving the Justice Lab to be Commissioner of the NYC ... jail system. Vinny's long experience fighting for humane and fair public policy and against mass incarceration is just what's needed.

Welcome on board Vivian! @Vivian_D_Nixon @square1justice

What a gorgeous rendering and series. Thank you @micahbazant and @interruptcrim !

I got to ask critical questions of these brilliant thinkers and you will want to hear their answers.

Today marks the 36th anniversary of the MOVE bombing in Philadelphia, which killed 11 people and demolished a historically Black ... neighborhood.

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.

Tomorrow, the final @square1justice Roundtable on the Future of Justice Policy kicks off.

What values should guide efforts to create safety... and reduce harm? @Keith_Wattley, @AbbeyStamp, and @fatimah_loren are ready to tell us.

RSVP to the livestream:

Ladies in Female Residential Treatment at the Care Canpus are making spring flowers to keep busy on this rainy day.

In 1962 President Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day. Established by a joint resolution of Congress, Natl ... Police Week pays special recognition to law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Deputy Kaitlin Leising is an Employee of the Month. Since Feb 2020, she has done nothing less than impress. Her professionalism+ contact ... with the community have been above & beyond. She is always willing to volunteer for community events. Deputy Leising is a huge asset to Patrol.

Very exciting to see our @square1justice colleague taking the reins at NYC DOC. @VinSchiraldi is that rare combination of visionary and ... pragmatist who has national reputation as justice reformer. @WesternBruce @HuffmanKA @Vivian_D_Nixon & Square One team wish him well.

Great article by ⁦@MarcALevin⁩ of ⁦@CouncilonCJ⁩ encouraging police professionals to embrace the call for transparency, metrics, ... oversight, more training. Democracy requires accountability. Public service requires shared responsibility

Great interview w/ impressive new reform-minded prosecutor. Austin join Dallas & San Antiono to make Texas a test case for prosecutorial... reforms. José Garza’s Unique Background Brings New Vision to Travis County DA’s Office via @Arnold_Ventures:é-garzas-unique-background-brings-new-vision-to-travis-county-das-office

“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.

Excited to share this piece in @JAACAP that I wrote with @Liz_Barnert @labramsucla #ErakaBath calling on the US to #UncuffKids by ... establishing a minimum age of juvenile justice jurisdiction as a tool to improve child mental health!

Palestinian follows: @m7mdkurd @4noura @MariamBarghouti @YousefMunayyer @InesAbdelrazek @TareqBaconi @dialash @dianabuttu @yarahawari ... @Barahmeh @sumayaawad @A7madAbuznaid @ziadaburish @RafeefZiadah @Omar_Gaza @A7madAbuznaid @ziadaburish @huwaidaarraf @JehadAbusalim @fadiQuran

Solidarity will save us. Here’s to a continued global uprising for freedom that echoes and extends righteous, collective struggle of our ... elders against colonialism and oppression in all its forms. We are the multitude. Palestine will be free.

Detroit taught me to always speak truth to power even if my voice shakes. I am who I am because of Palestinian seeds + my Detroit roots.

I... told my sity Muftieh that I stand here (on the House floor) because of her.

From Detroit to Gaza, we will all be free. #FreePalestine

NEWS: In a big win for gun violence prevention advocates, @GavinNewsom has proposed new funding for community violence intervention ... programs.

Every day, #CalVIP saves lives & we will continue our work with Gov. Newsom to ensure this proposal becomes law.

via @NYTimes Inspiring story and wise insights from Eric Cumberbatch who heads neighborhood safety and violence prevention out of NYC’s ... Mayor’s Office.

Your Daily Read. @Edsall on the Yin & Yang of Superstar Cities ...

Read this before you start talking about Chicago AGAIN.

After that 12-day trial, the judge overseeing the NRA's bankruptcy has dismissed the case, finding it was NOT filed in good faith.


📻 The story of Brandon Mayfield, who was falsely accused of the 2004 Madrid Train Bombings. 📻 LINEUP: Mayfield; Judge @ngertner of ... @Harvard_Law on forensics & courts; Gary Edmond of @UNSW on the science; @kevinpflynn of @CrimeWritersOn on true crime.

Georgia governor signed a voter suppression law under a painting of a slave plantation | Will Bunch ...

"Safety starts in the community and is upheld by the community... If I want to talk about public safety, I’m speaking about prenatal care,... about schools and early childhood education, communication skills, mentoring, economic mobility for families, mental health counseling."

Words can’t express how happy I am to have @Vivian_D_Nixon joining us as Writer in Residence at @square1justice. Welcome to the team, ... Vivian! #ReimagineJustice

Huge congrats, @tyrone4justice - can’t wait to see what comes next! We DCers are lucky to have you leading the work for justice in our ... town.

Participated in a @CmteForJustice program w/ @DavidLat & @JCNSeverino on undecided #SCOTUS cases, Breyer retirement rumors and other ... stuff - It was a lot of fun and very informative. @tolmanbrett @DougDeason @EdMeeseIII @FedSoc @SCOTUS101 @arthurrizer

A fantastic dinner with dear friends! @DRMCNJ and I had an amazing meal with @arthurrizer + @JessiRizer! Thanks for coming by!!

You know who wants to hold police officers accountable? The police. You know who wants to get rid of bad or dangerous cops? The police. You... know who has reached out to me multiple times with suggested police reforms? Police chiefs and Sheriffs.

[CALL BEGINS in 10 MINS] Courthouse Steps Oral Argument Teleforum: Terry v. United States featuring @vpreddy. #teleforum ...

At 2:00 CT today, I'll be on a @FedSoc teleforum to discuss the #SCOTUS arguments in #Terry v. U.S. The main issue is a technical matter of ... statutory interpetation, but the broader story concerns the history and future of American criminal justice policy:

[TODAY] Courthouse Steps Oral Argument Teleforum: Terry v. United States featuring @vpreddy. #teleforum Call begins at 3:00p ET. ...