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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 Power of Parsimony | By Daryl Atkinson and Jeremy Travis (May 2021)

May 2021 | Executive Session on the Future of Justice Policy The Power of Parsimony Full Report Executive Summary Overview As our country comes to terms with the damage caused by our excessive reliance on punishment as a response to crime, the use of the criminal law to sustain racial hierarchies, and the ways the…

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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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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

JOIN @EndTheException this #Juneteenth at 1PM ET to celebrate the introduction of the #AbolitionAmendment to #EndTheException and abolish ... slavery once and for all. @ccf_NY proudly supports. Please RSVP!

This year, Chicago Beyond turns 5. We continue to evolve in order to best fulfill our mission: to ensure that all young people in Chicago ... can reach their fullest human potential.

Congratulations to @neal_katyal for successfully defending child slave labor! I know this was one of your major pro bono projects. Nestlé ... wouldn't be where it is today (free to employ child slave labor without fear of repercussions in US court) without you

Do you ever wonder if your workplace was specifically designed to make your job harder to do? If so, maybe you've been infiltrated by the ... CIA. In 1944, the CIA published a guide to Simple Sabotage in the workplace. Do these seem familiar to you?

How awesome is this book going to be 👇🏾👇🏾👇🏾

Mariame Kaba and Andrea Ritchie writing a book on police abolition

Thanks ... @dreanyc123 and @prisonculture for doing this work for us all 💜


In Virginia, we are taking meaningful steps to address inequities in our criminal justice system and build a stronger, fairer, and more ... equitable Commonwealth for all.

We're so excited to be a part of such an incredible event. See you soon at @MIAFestival! ...

ICYMI: Meek Mill Pushed for a Probation Reform Law in Virginia. The State's Governor Just Signed It. Via @Essence. ...

It's always a highlight of my summers to meet with our summer intern class. Since we didn't have in-person interns last year, this meet-up ... today was even more enjoyable. A terrific and engaged group of future leaders and lawyers!

Excited about the launch this week and encouraged to have this program in Jacksonville. Thanks to @MovementFWD and @JSOPIO for bringing it ... to our community and working with our faith partners.

My friend Jimmy Judge is in the fight of his life. Please help him and his family in this fight, buy a T-shirt in support: ...

Today we commemorate Juneteenth and endeavor to never repeat what impeded the notice of freedom from arriving in Galveston.

Teach your child to be a good friend because some children don't go home to love.

Imagine being a Capitol Police officer and having to deal with this.

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

In addition to leadership by formerly incarcerated people, legal/law enforcement stepped up @BronxDAClark @BrooklynDA @ManhattanDA ... @DavidSoaresNY @CleggforDA @tompkinstoday DA Van Houten @Mimirocah1 @NassauDA @NYSBA @NYCBarAssn @NYCLU @LegalAidNYC . @NYGovCuomo should sign asap.

Thanks to #LessIsMoreNY sponsors @NYSenBenjamin & @phara4assembly & kudos to @katalcenter @DonnaHylton @UnchainedNOW @MoreJustNYC ... & @CUJusticeLab for campaign/thought leadership on this watershed parole reform. I urge @NYGovCuomo to sign asap.

With the passage of #LessIsMoreNY the racially disparate, costly and unnecessary incarceration of people in NY State for non-criminal, ... technical violations will be greatly reduced.

June is National Gun Violence Awareness month. At MOCJ, we believe that safety for NYC is about the presence of opportunity.

Today we are ... highlighting the contributions of the Mayor's Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety (MAP)

In celebration of #Juneteenth , #Harlem residents enjoyed performances and 500+ families were fed by the local pantry. The day was in ... partnership with @nycha @crimjusticeNYC @hczorg and @westharlemgroup. Thank you to everyone who celebrated this historic day along with us!

This weekend, the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety (MAP) will team up with local partners to commemorate the spirit of ... #Juneteenth

Join us to support Black American communities across NYC to celebrate the power of unity and fellowship! 🎉

we must ask difficult questions that go to the heart of our identity, our culture, our values. Thanks @JTravis48 and Daryl Atkinson for ... engaging with these critical questions:

Let's end "The Era of Punitive Excess!" Who is with me!?

... Thanks to @JTravis48 and @WesternBruce for this and so many other critical contributions.

Honored to collaborate with @Forward_Justice Daryl Atkinson on this paper for @square1justice. Thanks to colleagues from Executive Session ... for feedback esp @WesternBruce @mearest. Echoes of @theNASEM report’s reminder that values should guide justice policy.


We are calling on @NYCCouncil @NYCSpeakerCoJo to end housing discrimination against people with ... convictions & pass #FairChanceForHousing #Intro2047 THIS YEAR!

Join us this Wednesday, 6/23:

Incarceration will never keep us safe. There are many solutions to violence, based in community, that hold those responsible for harm ... accountable without police and prisons.

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:

Lunch for our deputies from Impact Cares event in support of Law Enforcement today at Cimarron Park on Sturgis Road. Deputy Bowman and ... Deputy Wilson gladly accepted a plaque from the Project Administrator Tory Wilson.

The Care Campus announces Bruce Seumanutafa is our Employee of the Month! Bruce always goes above and beyond to assist clients. His presence... & demeanor allow for safe interactions between employees and clients. He is kind to all--an amazing addition to the Care Campus!

Great to see that @leagueofcities has promoted the idea that the principle of parsimony can shape justice policy at local level. This idea ... can help us reframe stale debates by putting liberty at center of our discourse. When, why and how may the state limit our liberty?

Thrilled to welcome @MicahDerry to the team at @arnoldventures as we launch our multi-state campaign to promote liberty & eliminate ... wealth-based detention. Full speed ahead! A Plan to Eliminate Unjust Pretrial Detention via @Arnold_Ventures:

Let's end "The Era of Punitive Excess!" Who is with me!?

... Thanks to @JTravis48 and @WesternBruce for this and so many other critical contributions.

“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!

Why aren't there dozens of books about Black Southern grandmothers? There really ought to be. And I mean in the sense of a very particular ... role they play. (Before anyone starts, I do not mean grandmothers are not important in your cultures. I'm just talking about my own now.)

I realize I'm still new to @freep, but this may be the most important thing I do in my time at the paper: I'm starting a weekly LGBTQ+ event... column, to ensure that queer culture receives regular coverage. #Detroit, please submit your events! #Pride

Detroit: Get Your Car Brake Lights Repaired for Free on #Juneteenth ...

1. So what will life, and work, be like after the pandemic? What trends are fleeting, which are more likely to stick around? A quick thread ... on a new study just out in @PNASNews:

Proud to be making history. Together, we can reimagine the future of #OurCommonwealth. ... Please support our movement by contributing at Join us! #MAPoli #MAGov2022 #AllenforMA

Watch this. Go for it Pastor Jones! 💜

Morning Call is back! The BEST beignet. So happy about this! #NOLA

This means CT is the only state where calls to and from incarcerated fathers on #FathersDay are not an extra financial burden on families.

... Good start. Let’s get the other 49.

📻 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 ...

Congratulations to @MarshallProj - thank you for your work to shine light into the darkest corners of injustice!

Today's the day - remembering and honoring victims and survivors of gun violence. #WearOrange #ReimagineJustice

I cannot wait for this conversation to start; it has been to long, but we are here now! ...

Happy Father’s Day to me! - thank you Gabe Rizer for my Tesla tequila

Another great episode! @arthurrizer @tolmanbrett @DougDeason @MarcALevin @vpreddy @FedSoc ...

@AmeshiaCross Similarly @arthurrizer and I pregamed for today with this classic from Milhouse’s dad.

This is a wonderful interview of @JFormanJR by @EzraKlein. The key take-away is that human flourishing is nearly impossible in a violent ... environment, so politicians have to take violence seriously--and that means both street violence and state violence.

It’s a CCJ double-header today. We released a new report on crime trends in American cities and we’re hosting a very timely conversation... on how to reduce violence in our cities. REGISTER HERE:

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