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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.

Preliminary Thoughts on Reimagining Judging | By Nancy Gertner (December 2021)

January 2022 | Executive Session on the Future of Justice Policy Reimagining judging EXECUTIVE SUMMARY FULL REPORT PRESS RELEASE Overview Judges have traditionally been resistant to most types of reform: even when changed laws broadened the scope of judges’ sentencing discretion, many judges have been hesitant to utilize this development. We must find ways to…

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Beyond the Easiest Cases | By Greisa Martínez Rosas and Matt Desmond (December 2021)

December 2021 | Executive Session on the Future of Justice Policy beyond the easiest cases EXECUTIVE SUMMARY FULL REPORT PRESS RELEASE Overview In this paper, the authors examine the power of narratives to impact cultural, political, and policy change, arguing that narratives based on contingent morality – that is, oversimplifying people into “deserving heroes” or…

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What Makes a City Safe: Viable Community Safety Strategies that Do Not Rely on Police or Prison | By Amanda Alexander and Danielle Sered (December 2021)

December 2021 | Executive Session on the Future of Justice Policy What Makes a city safe: viable community safety strategies that do not rely on police or prisons BOSTON REVIEW PUBLICATION FULL REPORT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Overview Divesting from law enforcement is not merely compatible with reducing interpersonal violence in communities; it is necessary. To understand…

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Towards A New Framework For Achieving Decarceration: A Review Of The Research Literature On Social Investments | By Laura Hawks, Evangeline (Evie) Lopoo, Lisa Puglisi, and Emily Wang (October 2021)

October 2021 | Executive Session on the Future of Justice Policy Towards A New Framework For Achieving Decarceration: A Review Of The Research On Social Investments EXECUTIVE SUMMARY FULL REPORT PRESS RELEASE Overview Recent calls to decarcerate – to reduce reliance on the criminal legal system as a means to surveil and punish – have…

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Protecting and Serving Victims — Their Way, Not Ours | By Melissa Nelson and Kevin Thom (June 2021)

June 2021 | Executive Session on the Future of Justice Policy Protecting and Serving Victims – Their Way, Not Ours EXECUTIVE SUMMARY FULL REPORT PRESS RELEASE Overview As a prosecutor and a sheriff, we have seen countless and compelling moments where the best of our work has translated into positive victim support in the aftermath…

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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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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

Check out this moving op-ed from our writer in residence, @Vivian_D_Nixon, about why @POTUS' recent pardons can’t undo the effects of ... racism on our failed “justice system."

Incredibly proud of my colleague, Jeanine Valrie Logan!

#DoIHaveTheRightToFeelSafe? is Chicago Beyond's vision of instilling safety for all impacted by corrections, starting with people ... incarcerated & staff. Join @Chicago_Beyond and criminal legal reform leaders on 5/24 to discuss this vision.

turns out a health policy based on whether or not people are tired of a virus isn't effective. who knew?

This matters because these Black victims (& I want to be clear that designation is appropriate for more than just the 10 souls we lost.)... were targeted in a place that is centered on community. A place they FOUGHT for to meet their needs. This was a truly EVIL act.

3) It is a community rooted space. You can get there by bus. You can pay your utility bills there.

4) This was the day after SNAP benefits... would have been distributed and a Sat when folks (mostly Black Women!) would be doing their shopping for the week.


Honored to be at the helm of an organization dedicated to transforming our justice system.

Thank you @angelayee and @Cthegod for having me ... on.

Fixing a broken system isn't radical, it's common sense.

Prison relieves us of the responsibility of seriously engaging with the problems of our society.

1 in 10 people on probation or parole has ... a serious mental illness.

Nobody should go to prison because they don’t have access to mental health care.

"We look for inefficient markets, broken systems. You don’t have to look very far to understand that criminal justice is a deeply broken ... system." - Laura Arnold.

Thank you, Laura, for seeing a problem in the system and using your platform to change it; you are truly appreciated.

Cold cases are never forgotten. Tremendous work by Alan, Terence, and the many others who never stopped fighting for justice for Fred ... Laster. #NeverForget @FBIJacksonville @JSOPIO @fdlepio #JaxBeachPD #ColumbiaCountySO

Proud of this team and everyone who stands for justice. #PursueJusticeAlways

This #InternationalWomensDay, I’m thinking of the barrier-breaking Arizona women who paved the way for future generations. It’s the ... greatest honor of my life to serve as the first female Senator from #State48 – and I’ll always work to protect women’s rights.

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

This week's event on receivership and Rikers was educational and productive. Thank you to our speakers @VinSchiraldi, Sara Norman, Teresa ... Abreu, Sen. John Curran, Thomas Geragthy, Benjamin S. Wolf, @errolouis, Gladys Carrión, Zachary Carter, Michael Jacobson, and @Stan_Fortune. @VitalCityNYC ... @CUNYISLG @deray @CUJusticeLab @ColumbiaSSW @ColumbiaLaw @WomensCJA @thefortunesoc

Reformers Call for Federal Takeover of New York’s Rikers Jail ... via @thecrimereport @VitalCityNYC @CUJusticeLab @ColumbiaSSW @ColumbiaLaw @CUNYISLG @deray

Please join @NYCMayor, @pastormonrose, and our partners across the city at a vigil tonight to honor the victims of this weekend's horrific ... attack in Buffalo:

Thank you @nyc_defenders for supporting the @etcnyorg and @CrimJusticeNYC COVID-19 Hotel Program. #Housing at Exodus is a humanizing & ... holistic experience, as it should be...
NYC's COVID-19 alert level was raised to back medium today, reinforcing the necessity of these services.

It was a joy to host @bikecoopnyc at the Queensbridge Park Spring into Wellness Series with @CrimJusticeNYC ONS!

Parks 🌳 have so much ... potential to be the center of community bike activity - get repairs, learn basic fixes, meet neighbhors who #bikenyc. Thank you MG!! 🚲

A short piece on some recent research on solitary confinement. @jt_simes @CUJusticeLab @Columbia

To close Rikers, speed up the court process and end needless delay that prolongs incarceration, write @JTravis48 and @arjunamike

Congratulations to Columbia Sociology colleagues, Mario Small who was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and to Jennifer Lee and ... Tom DiPrete who were elected to the American Academy of Arts of Sciences.
@MarioLuisSmall @JLeeSoc @Columbia @theNASEM @americanacad

The Alliance of Families for Justice is proud to announce the Kathy Boudin Fellowship.

This paid year-long fellowship will support the ... growth and development of a formerly incarcerated woman. 1/3

We have a chance to make New York a state that centers the needs of survivors of violence. Contact your elected official and tell them to ... support #FairAccesstoVictimCompensation and cosponsor and pass S.7573 (Myrie) / A.8619A (Meeks).

The families of the Buffalo victims deserve a healing path, like all survivors of gun violence. Yet racial prejudice limits some survivors' ... access to state funds that foster healing. Ask legislators to pass the #fairaccesstovictimcompensation bill today!

“28 days of drug treatment didn’t work for their son.”

“Oh, he must a need a longer stay.”

The logical fallacy of when something... doesn’t work to just do it *more* reminds of the current resurgence in proposals to say, arrest drug dealers or make drug possession a felony.

Seder won’t pass us over this year

Defense attorneys, prosecutors, judges and law enforcement officers are all links in the complex chain that is the criminal justice system. ... At every link in that chain, there are obvious signs of extreme stress, rapidly nearing the point of breakage.

Felony Arrest Warrant issued for Shawn Michael Kerns for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender. He also has a misdemeanor bench warrant for ... disorderly conduct. If you know his whereabouts, please contact the @penncosheriff at 605-394-6117.

Today we salute Deputy Kent Przymus for almost 18 years of service to the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office. We’ll miss you Kent! Enjoy... your retirement!

Great support from @_monumenthealth for the Crisis Stabilization Unit! Keeping patients in crisis closer to home!

Great news: President Biden has nominated Amy Solomon as Assistant Attorney General at the Office of Justice Programs. A great public ... servant, fierce advocate for justice, friend and colleague. Good day for the country.

NJ is moving towards new level of professionalism in policing. Added to progress on de-escalation training & leadership on bail reform ... & sentencing commission committed to reducing prison population and racial disparities & NJ = pace setter for the country!

Tx to @Arnold_Ventures for elevating this argument for a justice system that respects the right to a speedy trial for those presumed ... innocent, a principle too often forgotten. With the right resources, leadership and persistence NYC can advance justice.

With a small team of researchers, we reviewed >23,000 abstracts to better understand the experimental landscape for non-criminal legal ... system interventions which reduce incarceration (a health-harming exposure) - either from ever happening, or from happening again

I joined @shanoorseervai on #TheDosePodcast for a conversation on how health systems must play their part in improving the health of ... communities affected by mass incarceration. Let me know what you think! Interview here:

The Alliance of Families for Justice is proud to announce the Kathy Boudin Fellowship.

This paid year-long fellowship will support the ... growth and development of a formerly incarcerated woman. 1/3

Abortion funds can’t survive on the boom/bust fundraising cycle. We need sustained investment in abortion access.

Still incredibly grateful to the folks @justcitydetroit esp @CaseyRocheteau and @A_S_Alexander ❤️ for my experience as the inaugural AIR... last year ✨ applications due in a few weeks for the next round!

Marking exams is the worst. I have no resorted to adaptogenic mushrooms for focus.

State investment in Transitions Clinic Network programs and community health centers for individuals released from incarceration could ... facilitate cost savings.

Justice Collaboratory’s Emily A. Wang contributes to this research. More here: @_Transitions

This is such a sad story. A young woman excited about teaching kids and talented to boot pushed out of the profession because of bias ... ignorance and intolerance

Abortion rights are protected in Massachusetts — or so we thought ... via @BostonGlobe


‘WTF NYU’: Med School Members Walk Out to Protest Possible Hire of ‘Canceled’ MIT Biologist ...

Tune in to @WBEZreset now to hear from @NnekaTapia, Andy Potter of @One_VoiceUnited and @BeySimpson of @JustLeadersUSA discuss the vision ... for holistic safety in corrections. #DoIHaveTheRightToFeelSafe Listen live:

@UnCommLaw’s new campaign is leveraging the power of stories to complicate and question our responses to violence; responses which too ... often perpetuate cycles of harm. Thank you for centering these voices!

#happyschoolprincipalsday to our principal @PrincipalBBAHS thank you so much for sharing your gifts and yourself to our students. #weloveyou... #thankyou #wehearyou

Stop 10 (and last 🥺) of Gabe’s epic graduation trip: Copenhagen, Denmark 🇩🇰.

Last beer with Gabe in this beautiful city. Going ... to miss him. So proud of him. He will stay in Denmark for two more weeks to finish his Masters from UVA.

Stop 9 of Gabe’s epic graduation trip: DRACULA’s castle and the Museum of Torture.

Castle that was owned at some point by Vlad the ... Impaler

This place was on my bucket list and …. it’s fine. But super far and cheesy. I would go to Peles Castle and skip this one.

One month ago, DEPC Exec. Dir. and @OSU_Law Prof. Douglas Berman (@SLandP) appeared at @sxsw with @RepNancyMace and @vpreddy on Stand ... Together Trust’s panel, “Post Pot Legalization: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.” Watch now! #StandTogetherAtSXSW #SXSW

Deeply humane point from @GreggNunziata in an interview w/@MattKLewis: "Even [for] bad guys who deserve long terms in jail, I feel some ... a citizen and as a Christian....Putting somone away in a federal a monumental decision."

.@ATabarrok of @GeorgeMasonU, quoted by @JAWillick: “We need to change what it means to be ‘tough on crime.’ Instead of longer ... sentences, let’s make ‘tough on crime’ mean increasing the probability of capture for those who commit crimes.”