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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.

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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With her strong and poignant words, @TheAmandaGorman reminds us of the power we each hold in upholding our democracy. Keep shining, Amanda! ... I can't wait to see what you do next. 💕 #BlackGirlMagic

Photo credit: Rob Carr

There are no words for the contradiction between America’s definition of ‘justice’ yesterday and today. Abysmal!

Cops, ICE, CPB, jailers, sheriffs, prosecutors, judges are always ready to violate the law when it doesn't suit them.

I can't believe I haven't seen this as a meme differentiating between boomers and millenials yet. It seems so easy. h/t @decafduquesa

On... the left: what Boomers had to do to get a job, make decent money, and buy a house.

On the right: everyone else

This looks amazing!
Looking forward to the hearings and @dreanyc123's testimony, among others. More info here.

Thank you @RepJGB, @ElgieSims, @KwameRaoul and the entire @IllinoisLBC for your leadership in prioritizing the safety and healing of crime ... survivors. This bill is a big step forward for all of us.

I had to paint this beautiful young woman! What an amazing poet she is! Her delivery was mesmerizing!

On behalf of ⁦@CSSJustice⁩ we want to thank ⁦@KwameRaoul⁩ for his leadership in prioritizing the safety and healing of crime ... survivors. #HB3653 will make significant changes to the Illinois Victims Compensation program #CJReform #SurvivorsSpeak #illinois

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:

Appreciative of all the hard work that continues to go into this project, both from our office and our partners @macfound, @safety_justice, ... @FIU, and @LoyolaChicago. Together, we are building better government.

Not everyone is a dog person. If your dog strays more than 10-20 feet from you, it isn't well trained enough to be off leash on a 14er. Be ... courteous to wildlife and others on the trail and keep untrained dogs leashed on 14ers and other busy trails.

Oh hell no... I am NOT your everybody!

The #FBI is seeking to identify individuals who assaulted federal officers at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. If you recognize this man, ... submit a tip to When providing a tip on the images, please refer to photograph 156. @FBIWFO

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

“Really, I was being groomed for institutionalization” Read this. ⁦@kenneth_rosen⁩ via @NYTimes ...

The first two people to die of COVID in Rikers Island were held on technical parole violations - must stop imprisoning people for ... non-crimes. #LessIsMoreNY

We're grateful to @LifeCampInc and #PeaceWeek for last night's town hall to discuss how each of us can create peace and redefine public ... safety in our communities.

Watch the conversation:

Whether it's helping communities heal through non-violence or working to prevent hate and bigotry through systemic reform, we look to the ... example set by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as a lodestar towards peace and justice.

Our communities will not be intimated by hateful scare tactics.

The Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes stands with @MJHnews in the ... battle against anti-Semitism and bigotry.

What are 3 steps @POTUS can take during his first 100 days that can rewrite his legislative history on #criminaljustice? Read ... @SukyiMcMahon's take in @Columbia News on how the @WhiteHouse can confront racism and poverty and #ReimagineJustice


The Dept of #Sociology invites applications for a distinguished scholar AT ANY RANK to fill a ... position as part Columbia's initiative in the areas of #Race #Racism #Racial #Inequality


Hundreds of thousands of incarcerated people have now tested positive for COVID-19. Over 2,000 have died from it. Mass incarceration has ... exacerbated the effect of this pandemic just like it exacerbates violence.

hi, i am honored that my very first cover story is on St. Louis' very own Congresswoman @CoriBush for the January cover of @TeenVogue. ... @RepCori energy is unmatched and I hope it shines through the piece. Would love to know what you think!

Funding Opportunity: The Visionary Freedom Fund invites BIPOC youth-led organizing groups to apply for a grant to support building power, ... articulating new visions, and leading transformative organizing work. Deadline 2/26. Learn more at #funding #youthled

Do we still have to do dry January during a white supremacist coup attempt? Its ok to have wine 🍷 now, right? And maybe cookies...

This is amazing. And just the tip of the iceberg.

BREAKING NEWS: #NCCCJ’s just-released final recommendations create a roadmap for #CriminalJustice based on lessons learned from #COVID19. ... Let’s not default to the status quo. Our nation deserves better, and lives are at stake. Read more here:

Keeping track of the new year of felony drug arrests in Pennington County, compared to the previous year.
Please report suspected drug ... activity at (605)394-2151.
Look to the Care Campus for treatment options at (605)396-6128.

Multiple Felony Bench Warrants issued for Wendy Rose Johnson for Probation Violations and Aggravated Eluding. She also has a Misdemeanor ... Bench Warrant for No Proof of Insurance and Failure to Yield. If you know her whereabouts, please contact @PennCoSheriff at 605-394-6117.

The Felony Alert issued for Jodi Rose Steele on June 12, 2020 has been cancelled. Steele has been arrested.

Good news from NJ. A brave governor, data-driven sentencing commission, support from Black caucus sets NJ on path to reduce BOTH ... incarceration AND racial disparities. Now can other states follow this lead? ⁦@SentencingProj⁩ ⁦@Arnold_Ventures⁩

Celebrating the restoration of Pell funding for College in Prison. A new day for recognizing the potential of ppl behind bars. Tribute to ... @BPIBard @ccf_ny @HudsonLink @verainstitute @JohnJayCollege @darrenwalker and countless advocates who didn’t give up.

"This new analysis from DCJ’s Research Network documents critical information about how jurisdictions across the U.S. handle low-level ... offenses – data that has not been prioritized for far too long” said @JTravis48, Executive Vice President of Criminal Justice @Arnold_Ventures

SF back under curfew tonight.

As a Black physician, it’s anxiety-inducing to travel to/from work outside of curfew & risk interaction... w/ law enforcement.

Curfew w/o other evidence-based actions feels performative. First, provide $ relief, close non-essential indoor everything.

Únase a nosotros para un seminario virtual sobre los desafíos éticos y de implementación de la distribución de vacunas covid19 en las ... cárceles y prisiones, este miércoles (en español y ingles) @dacolon @CienciaPR @Sefini @marco4357 @moefeliu @DiegoAlcalaPR @AppDemography @YaleGH

Join us and 400+ registered participants to discuss critical issues of #covid19 vaccine distribution in correctional systems (en ingles y ... español) in anticipation of @CDCgov ACIP's distribution scheme @Transition46 @CLALeadership @pahowho @CTDPH @JustLeadersUSA @NASEM_Health

The Demand Is Still #DefundthePolice #FundthePeople #DefendBlackLives!
Read the introduction to @interruptcrim's recently released report.
(Report is by @dreanyc123 w/ contributions from @prisonculture, Woods Ervin, Angelica Chazaro & more)

Any theory you got, practice it. And when you practice it, you make some mistakes. When you make a mistake, you correct that theory, and ... then it will be corrected theory...A lot of us read and read and read, but we don't get any practice.

–– Fred Hampton

This will keep happening if we don’t prioritize vaccines for incarcerated people. RIP. ...

Every Patriots fan adopted the Bucs this season.
We all knew the Bucs were probably going to the Super Bowl.
Most of us know how annoying we... are to everyone else, and for good reason.
And as someone w a little bit of self-awareness, let me apologize and promise to keep quiet...

Never has a press briefing brought me so much joy

Just watched @alondra get sworn in by @POTUS and whew the tears came flowing down. My first moment to really exhale in four years. So proud ... of her & excited about what's to come.

She's no longer "Alondra."

Deputy Director Nelson: standing by if you need us.

🌴 As if the color scheme of the plane is something The President of the United States should be wasting time on right now.

A new rap about JANET YELLEN y'all. It's amazing and so unbelievably NERDY. Take a listen! ... /1

One of the kindest giants ever to walk the earth. He earned death threats as wages for his greatness. #RIPGHankAaron. RIP to a King. ...

How pathetic. At least classic ambulance chasers have a noble excuse. Volunteering that he’d be honored to take on Trump’s defense — ... begging to be asked — looks like a new low for my former colleague.

Tribe: Cruz his student knows about the Constitution; he just doesn’t give a dam about it!

The GOP is hellbent on brainwashing Americans, so we need to break the spell and get actual leaders back in charge. To help, @JordanPeele ... and I are hosting a chat this Sunday about politics and horror to help @GeorgiaDemocrat get out the vote.

Join US:

This is what democracy looks like. Also this is what justice reform looks like. Can’t have one without the other! #ReimagineJustice

The future is here. What a gift to witness it. Thank you, @TheAmandaGorman!

#Inauguration2021  may be unlike any we've ever seen, but the need to unite under our shared ideal of true justice for all is stronger than... ever. Time to #ReimagineJustice and dismantle the harm poverty and racism have created. “We will not be turned around.” @TheAmandaGorman

My latest w/ @GCanaparo on Trump E.O. on mens rea reform - - a significant #CriminalJustice reform issue. ... @tolmanbrett @DougDeason @DSafavianEsq @arthurrizer @CaseyMattox_ @ShanaOtoole @MarcALevin @CohenAtTPPF @vpreddy @EdMeeseIII

#ICYMI: "We have a word in English when you use violence to try to get a political objective, and it's called terrorism"

@arthurrizer ... joined @mattgurney yesterday on @SXMMornings

Listen:👇 #SiriusXM 167


My latest article - let's hope this does not happen! @EdMeeseIII @DougDeason @tolmanbrett @arthurrizer @FedSoc @vpreddy @MarcALevin ... @JJCarafano @TomJipping @AmySwearer

"We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary... was "illegal." Letter from a Birmingham Jail, MLK

Hate groups & conspiracists use social media to spread dangerous ideologies and the platforms stimulate the engagement because that is ... how they were built. We need regulation now, or else the attacks on our democracy & our communities will only escalate.

Protesters gathered outside Republican Madison Cawthorn's district office, demanding his removal from office, citing his role in the January... 6 rally before the mob stormed the U.S. Capitol.

@MarcALevin is the goat of conservative criminal justice reform... excited for his new venture and my heart is happy knowing he is still ... part of the @RightOnCrime family!! The world is truly a better place because of him...

I am pleased to share that I will be joining @CouncilonCJ effective January 18 as Chief Policy Counsel. I am looking forward to this ... incredible opportunity to work with a talented and accomplished team to create a fairer, more effective justice system.

New recording of @DallasFed event on reining in excessive fines & fees in the justice system. Privileged to join others such as @lbeisen... @FairDefense @James_E_White @cmcpcatty @Arnold_Ventures @AssetFunders @TexasAppleseed @AECFNews in sharing solutions.