Skip to content

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.

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More
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

Thank you👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 ...

Today we launch #BackingTheFight -- a new fund deploying unrestricted investments to 12 organizations taking bold action to support ... Chicago’s youth and communities. LEARN MORE #socialimpact

“Grace’s release from the juvenile jail is a tremendous victory for her, her family and the community at large,” said Justice Project ... Senior Staff Attorney Ashley Carter in an Aug. 3 statement. @ashley_alexan @adv_project

The cowardice of people and organizations when faced with genuine problems that prevent them from operating at the highest levels will never... cease to amaze me. We all seem to prefer mediocrity to taking the necessary hard steps to make real change.

Link here:

“People recognize incarceration was not keeping us safe and as we traveled around the state, people started asking the same question.

We... all agree we can’t arrest our way out of this problem. What should we do instead?" - @MarisaArrona


Are you watching/attending #HealingWhileBlack today with @TheWellForLife, @RobertRooks5, @eriseady and @ShakyraDiaz?

Big News!!

@desmondmeade @sheena_meade @FLRightsRestore @RobertRooks5 @MarcESolomon @KevinARing @KGHOPE @jennykim @MarcALevin ... @ChelseaMurphyFL @GNewburn @StarlaMBrown @JoshuaBHoe @JessiChiappone @anydayisnow

Enhancing diversity in @SAO4Florida has been a priority of our recruiting efforts over the last three years.

My sincerest thanks to the ... @FlaBarYLD for recognizing these efforts through this important award.

London is one of the finest prosecutors I’ve ever known. A well-deserved appointment for years of great work and dedicated service. The ... people of Jacksonville are lucky to have Judge Kite join the Duval County bench. Great pick @GovRonDeSantis!

An aggravated assault on an officer, construction barricades/signage toppled, tagging, & traffic blocked for hours. Is this supposed to ... help the cause? I get it that it's the minority of protesters who do this but the others seemed to ignore or celebrate this conduct last night.

The #NYPD welcomes peaceful protests.

However, damage to NYPD technology that helps keep this city safe will never be tolerated. These ... cameras are vital resources which help prevent and solve crimes throughout the city.

Update- Tempe Train derailment and Fire- No injuries known at this time but the scene is very dangerous. Stay out of Tempe Town Lake and ... away from the area.

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

Strong statement by @DavidCrowleyWI on Transforming Criminal Justice System Through Racial Equity Lens @hrw @ACLU @abfrankel ...

#STATEMENT: Friday, @nytimes released another harrowing article highlighting how NYS, amid a pandemic, continues to incarcerate people for ... minor tech. violations of parole - underscoring the need to reform NY’s unjust parole system & pass #LessIsMoreNY.

The US has youth prisons. Prisons. FOR YOUTH! Strong letter featuring some of the top minds in this field like @miriamkrinsky, ... @marc4justice, and @VinSchiraldi.

We are working with @CrimJusticeNYC and @NORCNews to amplify the voices of NYC neighborhoods, including this series of standing panels. ...

What would a world without prisons look like? #BlackLivesMatter and #Defundthepolice have made this vision more urgent—and restorative ... justice is key to creating this world. I wrote a piece in @nybooks.

If you want to learn more about our upcoming digital events and the work that our experts are doing to #reimaginejustice, sign up for our ... newsletter!

Longtime criminal law reformer, and former head of probation in NY city, @VinSchiraldi, calls for a new “brand of public safety than we ... are now getting with cops, courts, and prisons” @hrw @ACLU

Thanks to the far-reaching insight of @kuokuomich in @nybooks about much more than my book--including abolition, reparations, policing, and... what is becoming possible for justice in America.

There are better solutions to handling domestic violence calls than our current carceral system.

Today, as many gather in Atlanta to say farewell to Rep. John Lewis, we encourage everyone to read his parting words in this essay written ... shortly before his passing.

Welcome to our page! Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt (@DAMikeSchmidt) shares some initial thoughts about current events and ... the criminal justice system — today, his first day on the job. 📹Full video available:

Corrected link: Terrifying and dangerous Federal overreach in Portland. This Rolling Stone article goes deeper than much of the national ... coverage and sites my @square1justice colleague, Tracey Meares. #reimaginejustice

As you celebrate July 4th weekend, remember this.

From @Mvmnt4BlkLives.

4:00pm Sunday call to assist injured hiker west of Rapid City along Highway 44. Johnson Siding Volunteer Fire Dept, @PennCoSAR, ... @RapidCityFire Medic 5, @PennCoSheriff were called to assist. The hiker has minor injuries on steep slope with loose rocks, boulders, and fallen trees.

The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office Boat Patrol came across this awesome homemade contraption Saturday on Sheridan Lake. They made it ... out of plastic barrels and wood.

Felony Arrest Warrant issued for Dillan Marcus Reed for Grand Theft and Illegal Possession of Firearm. If you know his whereabouts, please ... contact the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office at 605-394-6117.

Powerful interview with Walter Katz on the need for deep structural reform of policing and why moderate reforms have failed. ... ⁦@Arnold_Ventures⁩

Thought provoking, constructive commentary from @w_katz1 on need for deep police reform that transforms a broken culture. Need to resist ... easy answers. Time to ask tough questions: how can police be held accountable for ethical behavior?

As the state is about to execute Billy Wardlow, I keep re-reading his last letter to me.

"Thank you... for showing me that I have worth, ... too - no matter what others might say or think," he wrote. "You gave me back my humanity."

He'll never actually get to read the story.

join us for a special webinar on corrections and preventing COVID-19, drawing on novel ideas from the US, Haiti, HongKong, Australia. ... REGISTER NOW: Wednesday, July 8th, 9-11:30
@square1justice @CovidPrison @wephren @NCCHC

🚨 Medicaid expansion referendum SUCCEEDS in Oklahoma.

IT'S DONE, @TheOklahoman_ confirms.

200,000 people will gain access to public ... insurance in one of the country's most conservative states.

Today is the Michigan August primary! Here are some things to know if you're a returning citizen who plans on voting in Michigan. ...

Our criminal justice system has a broad impact on racial and economic inequities. Hear from @justcitydetroit on what actions local leaders ... can take, Aug. 6, 2pm. Register now.

One year ago today, a white nationalist killed 23 people in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas with an AK-47. What has America done since to stop ... the next one?

Today marks 1 year after the deadly attack on Latinos in El Paso. As we hold those killed & their families in our hearts, we must also ... use our power to stand against hate and vote for those who are bringing us together, not tearing us apart. #ElPasoStrong

Trump wants an undercount on #census.. see what they are up to...

Celebrating my birthday surrounded with so much love and HOPE for what’s to come. I ask the universe brings me more wisdom, courage and ... JOY!

My piece with Tom Tyler in the @TheAtlantic translated into Spanish

"Do we honestly want to say that it's just too hard for us to have a serious commitment to the presumption of liberty, to the presumption of... innocence? Really? That's too hard? - @mearest

Episode 86 Decarceration Nation #cjreform #podcast

Opinion | Alexander Vindman: Coming forward ended my career. I still believe doing what’s right matters. - The Washington Post ...

Watch, then please retweet, this great ad:

Good trouble indeed - can’t wait to see the trouble you get into next, @ChristinaSwarns! Huge congrats - see you at @innocence project!

“We should not think of the next year or two as the start of a decade or more of incremental progress. We should think of the next year or... two as all the time we have, and a last chance to get it right.” @jaricheson on why now is the time to think bigger. #JusticeIsTheNextNormal

"Coalition for #SharedSafety" - I love all of those words, glad to see them turning into action! Check out this event today with ... @RobertRooks5, Georges Benjamin of @PublicHealth, @SusanBurtonLA, @Genevieve_DKBF and more amazing folks coming together to make it happen!

We train police to be warriors — and then send them out to be social workers ... via @voxdotcom

Highly recommend! @ConLawWarrior and @arthurrizer debated this topic for our chapter last year, and it was one of the best event of the ... year!

NEW @emilymmooney @Rstreet for TAC: COVID has allowed localities to take a second look at how they've been feeding children into the ... school-to-jail pipeline. Time for a more humane, family centered approach.
@arthurrizer @senatorshoshana @FixCrimJustice

Meet the woman who is Pell - @Vivian_Nixon_WW - ED of @ccf_ny founded on providing liberation to those women inside and with criminal ... convictions through education.

Read her story on co-inventing Second Chance Pell as a formerly incarcerated individual:

AOUON & @LSPC_ were honored & proud to join @UnderCapitalism & 100s of comrades at San Quentin on Sunday to call for the release... of our loved ones held in prisons flooded w/ COVID-19 due to CDCR mismanagement.

@mrdaveyd photos linked!

Today is James Baldwin’s 96th birthday. To celebrate let’s made a thread of his quotes. I’ll start: “The black man has functioned in... the white man's world as a fixed star, as an immovable pillar: and as he moves out of his place, heaven and earth are shaken to their foundations."

Missing my friend and mentor Mark Kleiman, who died a year ago today. How much better we’d be navigating the pandemic and policing crises ... with his wisdom and wit.

Thanks to everyone who tuned in for tonight’s webinar on overcriminalization and criminal justice reform.

Terrific discussion featuring ... Prof. Stephen Smith, Prof. Kim Forde-Mazrui, @vpreddy, @LELDF_President, and moderator Prof. Barbara Armacost.

"[T]he State's refusal to give back my car has never made sense; if they're trying to rehabilitate me...why do you want to make things ... harder by taking away the vehicle I need to meet with my parole officer or go to a drug recovery program or go to work?"