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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.

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.


Join the conversation

On 5/4 @ 3pm CT, join @Chicago_Beyond’s @NnekaTapia and @Kennedy_School’s @KhalilGMuhammad as they unpack the history of racial ... criminalization in the American justice system.

What a beautifully orchestrated conversation about the value of vulnerability, healing, hospitality, and community in seeing a path away ... from the atrocities of the current criminal legal system! @Vivian_Nixon_WW @reubenjmiller @WesternBruce

New York lawmakers approve bill that would bring solitary confinement to a halt ...

In #21CenturyPolicing, we name companies who profit from police collaboration. It is meant tool for advocates to help shift in power away ... from the carceral state and into communities. #DefundALLPolice

Join us, organizers, & @CoriBush on Monday at 1 ET.

Cops will kill again. City Attorneys will stonewall requests for public information. Prosecutors & the DOJ will support cops. Mayors ... & presidents will tell the people to remain calm. This is/has been the formula. Uprisings are the only time they listen. What's the other option?

There is not an academic, advocate, or expert in this country who has a better idea than taking the streets and fucking shit up.

Denying housing and employment opportunities to people on parole/probation doesn't only impact them, it impacts their entire family.

RT if ... you think it's time to restore access.

On @LawCrimeNetwork Until we have true safety, stability & trust in our communities, we'll mourn the loss of lives.
Blks are 2x > to... be pulled over/ 5x > than whites to rprt being stopped b/c of race. Blks are 3x to be killed by police than whites.
Let's recommit to reform now.

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:

It’s the last day of Women’s History Month, but we’re just getting started! @VallejoPd is pleased to announce that on 3/25/21, we ... became one of more than 39 agencies throughout the nation to sign the @policingproject @30x30initiative - Let’s do this! #VallejoPD #RisingTogether

The shooter in Boulder bought an assault weapon a week before the massacre. He had a conviction for assault and a history of aggressive ... acts.
Explain to me how background checks wouldn’t help?

Today is the day!!! I don't think I've been this excited since I believed in Santa (which was sadly much later than my peers. Don't ask.).... Happy launch day, @30x30initiative! We ride at noon. 🙌

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 an assoc of 100+ probation & parole commissioners & 50+ prosecutors has called for halting ... incarceration for technical violations. @theappeal explains why that's a good idea. @fjp_org @CUJusticeLab @NTBaszynski #LessIsMoreNY

.@errollouis & @brooklynda are right. To improve public safety & treat people like human beings we should reduce imprisonment for ... non-criminal, technical parole violations & provide supports for people reentering the community from prisons & jails. #LessIsMoreNY

“An all-out mobilization is required to roll back the harmful reach of the state in the operations of a justice system that causes so much... injustice” @WesternBruce @JTravis48 @CUJusticeLab @Arnold_Ventures

SPOTLIGHT: Residents leading the St. Nicholas NeighborhoodStat (NStat) team in Harlem, NY partnered with local organizations to host a ... Family Support Services Fair, a neighborhood-led anti-violence effort.

Congratulations to #NewSchoolAlumni Marcos Soler, MS Urban Policy Analysis and Management '06 & PhD Politics '15, who was appointed ... Director of @NYCMayor’s Office @CrimJusticeNYC, and will lead the charge to make NYC a safer, fairer, and healthier city.

The cumulative risk of jail incarceration HT @WesternBruce MT @PNASNews

When it comes to reimagining safety, gutting programs like New York’s Summer Youth Employment is the wrong way to go.

Cities must build ... their civic muscles, SQ1's Elizabeth Glazer writes in @PostOpinions's Reimagine Safety series.

🔈WATCH LIVE: Our Roundtable on the Future of Justice Session is now streaming with our ED @HuffmanKA, @monicacbell and @LeahRigueur ... discussing the role of values👇

Solutions to violence and safety without police and prisons exist and are far more effective than the injustice system we live with now. We ... can end racial violence and make our communities safer without relying on police and prisons. 4/4

They know that police and prisons are not what keeps us safe. Consistently we see that police and prisons keep cycles of violence persisting... in our neighborhoods and against our loved ones. 3/4

Across the country, communities are taking action and demanding that police end their use of force against Black and Brown people. 2/4 ...

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:

Being involved with @square1justice has dramatically changed my approach to criminal justice reform. Join in for the discussion on values at... our next meeting.

I value self-determination, multiple forms of knowledge production, and shared power! #justicefirst @square1justice ...

School Resource Officer, Deputy Jayson Herra at Patriot Elementary School came up with a great way to say “thank you” to our ... dispatchers! @dsdk12 @PENNCO911

Calling all 15-20 year olds interested in exploring a career in law enforcement!
The PCSO Explorer Program gives young people exposure to ... great careers. It builds character thru physical fitness, leadership & community service. Apply at

Weekly we show year-to-date felony drug arrests compared to the previous year. The goal is to raise awareness of the problem of illegal ... drugs & the violence that accompanies it.
Report suspected drug activity: (605) 394-2151.
The Care Campus has addiction treatment: 394-6128.

Honored to co—author this essay w/ @WesternBruce to kick off a series by @BrennanCenter on #punitiveexcess. Before we #reimaginejustice we... must curb the excessive & harmful reach of state power thru criminal justice system. @square1justice @Arnold_Ventures

Wise words from @Abt_Thomas & rick rosenfeld of @CouncilonCJ. To reduce rising homicide rates focus on real police reform; deep ... engagement w/ communities; supporting young men at risk; prioritize COVID vax for anti-violence workers.

Excited to share this timely expansion of our work to reduce barriers to full participation by ppl with criminal records Reintegration Added... to Growing Criminal Justice Work at Arnold Ventures via @Arnold_Ventures:

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!

Important and sobering talk @YaleSPH @SEICHE_Yale @ERIC_Yale in the midst #chauvintrial by @jaquelynjahn on the population health effects of... fatal police violence on mortality

Cop shows are the most effective propaganda in U.S. society. People desperately want to believe that cops are like their fave characters on ... those shows, and that even cops who do bad things are motivated by a desire to combat evil. The deception is insidious and impressive.

Are you part of an organization that provides crisis social services in your community? Let us know about it! We’ll add you to our ... database of community-based alternatives to police #DontCallThePolice

The Chicago police killed a 7th grader with his hands up and lied about it. What else is there to say?

Thinking about the connection between gun violence and police violence with @MichelMcQMartin

Amazingly, this conversation took place ... *before* the video of Adam Toledo's murder emerged

Inspiring stuff from @DrPhilGoff on another sad night in America

“Police violence has been extremely consistent over time,” says sociology professor and criminologist Patrick Sharkey. @patrick_sharkey ... @MichelMcQMartin @Princeton

Please stop replicating my research.

This is a must-read thread. On “warrant checks” and the picayune offenses people are charged with. Legislators and city council members ... can change this. Do something now. Police have the authority that legislators give them

20 years ago today, Cincinnati was in a “state of emergency” and put under curfew. A police officer killed a 19-year -old named Timothy ... Thomas. He was the 15th Black man killed by CPD in a 6 year period. People took to the streets and burned the city for 3 days demanding justice

📻 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 ...

NEWSFLASH: @POTUS @JoeBiden to unveil gun violence prevention executive orders + expand BILLIONS of federal tax dollars across 5 agencies to... urban communities to #FundPeace via public health, mental health & jobs. Over a decade of organizing...what a day #LIVEFREE #IAmAPeacemaker

Two of the wisest and most thoughtful people I know, @daniellesered and @_marlonpeterson, talking with each other about the most urgent ... issues of our time? Join if you can, you will definitely learn something! #NotToBeMissed #JusticeIsTheNextNormal

It’s clear that #massincarceration comes with a severe cost to our country. Join @WesternBruce on 4/8 as he moderates a can’t-miss convo... between author @reubenjmiller and me on this very topic. A conversation about citizenship! Register here:

.@DanLips and I put together recommendations for appropriators to strengthen GAO’s STAA program to build S&T expertise in Congress ...

"It’s the government’s job to keep the soil fertile and to let things grow, rather than trying to direct where and when new life will ... sprout." @judgeglock

New Op-ed ...

I am unapologetically Black, unapologetically a woman, and I am unapologetically going to say it is time for us to lead and for us to be ... heard. I will NEVER stop using my voice to stand up for the rights of survivors.

“The good intentions are there, but we also know good intentions pave the road to hell.”

With no immediate path to broad national ... reform on policing, JLUSA President & CEO DeAnna Hoskins says good intentions are not enough.

Using his signature, no-holds-barred style, Chef Jeff Henderson will share his best practices for self-knowledge and goal-setting.

You can... attend our 4-30 event on Zoom or in person! Register at the link:

An interview with @JeffKorzenik about second-chance hiring and his new book, Untapped Talent: ...

"Our current criminal justice system is a failure not simply because of the volume of people that are passing through it, but because of its... failure to transform people." This is an inspiring conversation between @Econtalker and @MaxKenner about @BPIBard:

“Tech Talk with Judge Schlegel”. Let’s discuss simple technologies that can be used to improve outcomes in probation. Tuesday, Mar 30... at 3:00 PM CDT on @joinclubhouse. Join us!