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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.

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 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 for smarter…

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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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Thank you @safety_justice. Bail reform works. Cook County Criminal Justice System: We are impatiently waiting for the number of people ... housed in Cook County Jail to safely drop.

Join our Founder and CEO @LizDozier at Milwaukee's 6th Data Day, as she discusses “Why Am I Always Being Researched?,” our guidebook for... researchers, funders, and community organizations. Hosted by @datayoucanuse. Register below:

The Sun-Times Editorial Board endorses Kim Foxx for Cook County state's attorney, "fully acknowledging the mistakes she has made in the ... Jussie Smollett case." Read the board's full endorsement here ⬇️

6 years ago today, we found out that Mike Brown and his family would not receive justice. That same night, I was stomped by police in the ... streets of Ferguson.

6 weeks from now, I will be sworn into the House of Representatives to legislate in defense of Black lives.

Congratulations to our former ED @mahrohj for this amazing accomplishment ❤️

Police sexual violence is a horrifying reality for many ... women and girls of color. We are so grateful for your vision for anti-violence work.

This violence has continued since the very inception of policing in this country. It has never stopped, paused, or taken a break. EVERY ... SINGLE DAY, of EVERY SINGLE YEAR that policing has existed it has been defined by violence, corruption, & white supremacy.

California should close 5 prisons to save money after releasing 25,000 inmates, analyst says ...

Yes! Well said @SenatorSantana and @SenErikaGeiss! Thank you for your leadership. #sharedsafety #traumahealing

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.

Great story about a wonderful leader and great partner. We are lucky to have Rachel in Jacksonville and I am lucky to call her friend.

So very saddened to hear of Sgt. Twisdale’s passing. As his career and distinctions show, he honorably served his community and his loss ... will be felt.

Judge Salas’ grief turned into strength and legislation to protect public servants is astonishing & commendable. If @SallyQYates is ... our AG, I am confident that we will make this a national standard! @dougducey , let’s do this in AZ.

Go all in and do a real turkey Chris- you’ve today got this! Chicken is for chumps- you’re the real deal.

Pandering doesn’t effect change-Seattle elected officials are acting irresponsibly !

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

Excellent work by YouthJusticeLA & the LA Board of Sups (as well as LA Foundations that supported this work)!

For all my friends in South Wburg please keep an eye out for this wonderful cat!

Must-read piece from @nytopinion ed board citing @theNASEM report co-chaired by @WesternBruce @ewang422 #carenotcages ...

The virus of hate can have long-term consequences.

Check out the Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes and @NYCSchools's guide to ... educational materials related to anti-Asian and COVID-related discrimination to learn how we stand up against hate.

NYC remains the safest big city in America, including our transit system. With subway & bus ridership numbers still 60% below last year,... major crime in the system is estimated to be at lows (~30%) unseen in recent years. Crime from 2014-2019 was 8% lower than the height of 2012.

.@VICE documents how our partners including @etcnyorg continue to provide resources for justice-impacted individuals amid the COVID-19 ... pandemic.

A challenge to academic centers focused on health + incarceration: to (start) equalizing educational opportunities, webinars should also be ... broadcast behind bars too @CUJusticeLab @JusticeColumbia @ucsfcvp @AmendatUCSF @nijAction @YaleGHJP @WesternBruce @LeoBeletsky @briewsf

Editorial on the pandemic in prisons and jails highlights vacuum of federal policy, and the disconnect between the US healthcare system and... healthcare in incarceration. A few thoughts .../1

Pay attention

We’re experiencing a mental health crisis in this country like never before. Here is a thread of resources and virtual meetings to support... our communities through this difficult time: 1/6

In New York state and across the country, technical parole and probation violations are driving mass incarceration.

NEW: 25 years ago this month, one article introduced a new term: “Superpredator.”

The phrase had a powerful impact on how we treat kids... who commit crimes. Politicians have disavowed it. But not the media outlets that cemented it in our natl. vocabulary.

Long Beach mental health escape @ Long Beach, Washington ...

Check out my husband's amazing drawing on day 11 of #inktober2020

Methamphetamine is the problem drug in Pennington County, accounting for about 70% of felony drug arrests. Please call to report suspected ... drug activity at (605) 394-2151. Look to our Care Campus for addiction treatment services at (605) 394-6128.

JSC announces Correctional Officer James Muhlbeier is Employee of the Month! James always has a positive attitude & makes others feel ... welcome and appreciated. He spearheads defensive tactics training & concentrates on supporting his peers--encouraging cohesiveness and comradery

Felony Bench Warrant issued for Naomi Nicole Johnson for the charge of Aggravated Assault. If you know her whereabouts, please do not ... approach. Contact the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office at 605-394-6117.

"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

I'm running as a proud Democrat, but I will govern as an American president.

A great day for the country and the cause of justice!

A challenge to academic centers focused on health + incarceration: to (start) equalizing educational opportunities, webinars should also be ... broadcast behind bars too @CUJusticeLab @JusticeColumbia @ucsfcvp @AmendatUCSF @nijAction @YaleGHJP @WesternBruce @LeoBeletsky @briewsf

Decarceration is a matter of #healthequity and, during covid19, of life and death. Clinicians, health systems, payers all have a role to ... play in tackling this injustice. via @JAMA_current @WesternBruce
@donberwick @NASEM_Health

While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last—because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a ... country of possibilities.

6 years ago today, we found out that Mike Brown and his family would not receive justice. That same night, I was stomped by police in the ... streets of Ferguson.

6 weeks from now, I will be sworn into the House of Representatives to legislate in defense of Black lives.

there was a person in the grocery store asking others to respect the six-feet & when people looked at them askew, they replied 'i lost ... someone recently.' i was too stunned to offer condolences but i'm sitting with how much invisible grief there is, all around us. its deep.

Organized capital does not need "a seat at the table." They've stolen the table and the people are fighting to take it back.

@Noahpinion We tested for normalization here - first experiment like this afaik ... (didn’t find any evidence, though hard to test late in term)

A majority of justices appear ready to declare that laws acknowledging racism are themselves discriminatory. ... via @slate

@dorfonlaw @carrot_topiary Today is a call to arms to do it for RGB

NEW VIDEO! #PleaseSaveTheseChildren

If you don't have a bright line for crimes against children you don't have a line.

And if you ... support Donald Trump after watching this video you don't have a soul either.


Starting now for the 5 pm ET session, or tune in at 8 for more! @flikshop & @_marcus_bullock & @JusticePolicy bringing us all ... together!

Safety and healing are within reach for victims of violence and trauma - @SafeandJustUSA and National Alliance of Trauma Recovery Centers ... show us what works. #JusticeIsTheNextNormal

Great ideas from @Square1Justice on WHY coordinated healthcare as people come home after incarceration is crucial, and HOW it can be done ... now with existing ACA and Medicaid tools! #ReimagineJustice

In September, the Ohio Senate in SB256 voted by a 29 to 4 margin to replace juvenile life without parole with review after 18 years in ... non-homicide cases & 25 years in homicide cases. @theCFSY @preston_shipp 4/5

Guest column by @arthurrizer and @CaseyWitte: "While Iowa’s efforts to address the problems endemic in our criminal justice system are ... commendable, these efforts should not be the end, but only the beginning."

To say that 2020 has been challenging is an understatement. It's crucial that we make time to take care of ourselves and unwind. (1/5)

Wanted: One thunderstorm. Windowpane-pounding, puddle-making, purifying rain. Powerful and merciful nourishment. Now. Offer ends in 14 ... hours. 3 minutes.

Doing well for doing good is not betrayal if you have a body of work. Many of us live in this paradox. Won with integrity, success costs ... dearly. Don’t throw shade @BarackObama to mask uneasiness with your own access to social capital. Don’t be petty. Let him live. #buyingtheset

Which policies will do the most to save black lives? We ask three of the country’s leading libertarian figures in criminal justice reform.... Join us today at 3:30 ET for #Agenda2025 as we discuss with @BlanksSlate, @clay_spence, & @vpreddy.

JUST OUT: New installment of @CouncilonCJ series on the 1994 Crime Bill examines impact on law enforcement, by Rick Rosenfeld @UMSL_CCJ ... @NLVigne @docthadjohnson

We've got to learn the lessons of the past, or we are doomed to repeat them.

On Monday, November 16th, @OSULawDEPC at @OSU_Law is hosting an important event on the "Drug Policy Implications of the 2020 Elections" ... @JohnJHudak, @MaritzaCPerez, @TamarTodd, & @SLandP will all be speaking. Register here: