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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.

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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A new prediction for the COVID-19 crisis in Illinois estimates fewer deaths and projects the pandemic will peak this Saturday, if social ... distancing continues.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work! @Join_RAGE @imancentral @tmwkenglewood @Chicago_Beyond #InThisTogether #EnglewoodRisingTogether

So inspired by @Chicago_Beyond's efforts to bring resources to Chicagoans with less access to self-care items and healthy food.

KOVAL is ... honored to work with them on providing 270 gallons of sanitizer to families and nonprofit orgs in need. Learn more -

Ah the perfect logic of the carceral state: Wear this mask to protect against this virus or we'll put you in jail!!! Once in the jail, we ... definitely won't give you a mask to protect against this virus. Or soap. Or sanitizer. Or paper towels. Or the ability to social distance.

That's a wrap on the presser, but for more info, the lead plaintiff in the case, Anthony Swain, published a first-person account of his time... in jail w/ @theappeal

the racial disparities in our criminal legal system along with the racial disparities in healthcare along with our society's indifference ... will end in the unnecessary deaths of thousands of Black and Brown people because of #COVIDー19

No matter how much money or power one has, two things that can never be forced: love and respect.

We are born as bright lights but then we grow up. We start believing when others tell us who we are. And, we no longer see the opportunities... here and now. Don’t let anyone define who you are. Only person who knows your enormous potential is you.



On #NationalDoctorsDay, my gratitude to the doctors working tirelessly to keep our communities healthy. You are heroes.

To the brave first ... responders, law enforcement officers, healthcare providers, grocery employees, and everyone working to keep us safe and healthy: thank you.

I loved this event! Thank you @SJRState for hosting my dear friend and me to talk about a subject near and dear to my heart: ... #GirlsCanDoAnything

Great to be at #CPAC2020 with @tolmanbrett, @DSafavianEsq, and @grahamfiller to discuss how states are pursuing criminal justice reform ... after the #FirstStepAct. #PursueJusticeAlways #SmartJustice

What you should know! @Tempegov @maricopacounty @PoliceChiefsAZ

This fortune characterizes @TempePolice @ToaAz - we are showing up for work & we are here for you.

Received this message on a shipment of ventilators from Governor @GavinNewsom and the people of California.

Have faith – we will beat ... this if we all work together.

NEW: Cops and union officials have been predicting a crime wave as cities reduce low-level arrests and release the jailed to slow the spread... of #COVID19.

But in Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and San Francisco, data show big drops in crime reports.

Mecklenburg County is excited to receive ongoing funding from #MacFound to build on criminal justice reform.

Humbled & honored to have the confidence of my colleagues and NC Chief Justice to lead Mecklenburg District Court as Chief Judge. I will... work to ensure that all people are treated with dignity and fairness. My gratitude for the support and help I have received is boundless.

This horror story is coming soon to a jail near you. Must act now to reduce jail pops so what’s happening in Chicago & New York City ... doesn’t repeat itself over & over & over &...

What gave me hope today? More than 300 advocates joined a Zoom meeting to strategize about how to get young people out of facilities and ... keep them safe in this #COVID19 crisis. #freeouryouth. Thanks @MFaruqee @LizRyanYJ and @NoKidsInPrison.

The NYC COVID-19 Engagement Portal is a confidential new way to self-report #covid19 information to help stop the spread and get the facts. ... Sign up at

Thanks to our friends at @ForumTheatreNYC & @NYCulture, public housing residents will be able to share their stories and solutions for ... the public safety issues they encounter every day.

Learn more about the Mayor’s Grant for Cultural Impact: #CreateNYC

The Office of Neighborhood Safety is excited to honor our front-line Peace Makers in the City! Together, we continue to make peace the ... reality and the norm for many of our communities. @JumaaneWilliams @Vanessalgibson @IDaneekMiller #PeaceNYC #ALLIN4PEACE #peaceweekNYC

Some important resources on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on criminal justice policy:

At UCLA Law, @SharonDolovich is maintaining ... a 50-state review of adult and juvenile corrections, and immigrant detention:

A massive wave of evictions is coming in the wake of the covid pandemic. New research from Princeton's eviction lab. ...

The list of social influences on post-prison partner violence looks even worse through a COVID-19 lens:

(1) poverty & economic ... exclusion
(2) deteriorated communication & lack of information
(3) exposure to violence
(4) social isolation & disempowerment

In NYC, black people are disproportionately affected by #COVID19, but so are Hispanics. In NYS (excluding NYC), the percentage of blacks ... dying of the disease are twice their percentage of the population.

Social distancing while Black. Greater risk for catching the virus. Greater risk for catching a case trying to avoid the virus. #Chokehold ...

BREAKING: two nurses at Hudson County jail have died from #COVID19 and there are now over 60 employees and incarcerated individuals who have... tested positive.

We must #FreeThemAll immediately. Civil immigration detention should not carry with it the risk of a death sentence.

I see too many jurisdictions across the country in which public defenders are silenced by politics. ...

For the second legislative session in a row, Oregon republican representatives walk out of the job and leave budgets and bills in limbo ...

Just posted a photo @ Alloro Vineyard

If you're a victim of a violent crime in the past 5 years, the
Department of Public Safety would like your feedback on services received. ... Just 30 minutes.

Illegal drug use continues to be a problem in Pennington County. Felony drug arrests are at an all-time high year to date. Please call to ... report suspected drug activity. Look to the Care Campus for addiction treatment options.

First responders salute all the local healthcare workers on the front lines in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you for ... protecting and caring for all of us! @PennCoSheriff @RapidCityPD @RapidCityFire @penncofire

We have lost a great public servant. A “reform-minded prosecutor” before this was a national phenomenon. A champion of “community ... justice” who inspired a national reform movement. This wise, brave and caring leader will be missed. ⁦@IIP_JohnJay⁩

Proud to join @zoetravis_ in calling for swift & humane actions by LA County officials to release ppl from jail. Health crisis demands ... action! @GeorgeGascon @ericgarcetti @GavinNewsom

So glad that @w_katz1 has joined @Arnold_Ventures Criminal Justice Leadership Team. Important national voice on policing topics. Experience ... working for @RahmEmanuel will be invaluable. Tackling violence issues. Now looking at police response to COVID. Welcome!

Medical residents are on the frontlines and we make approx an average of 17$ per hour.

Again. $17/hr.

That how much the people risking ... their lives on the frontlines are making.

Your Starbucks barista makes more per hour.

Protect us. Give us PPE and stay home.

Today, my health system took a big step: Notified staff that they're adopting the model described here, with face masks at all times & a... health check each shift for even mild ill symptoms. Effective Wednesday. Kudos to @PartnersNews @BrighamWomens @MassGeneralNews

Primary care in the time of #Covid_19. @_Transitions @YaleMed seeing patients by phone, video or in clinic. BEST thing prisons and jails can... do is to send people home, esp those with chronic medical conditions. #FlattenTheCurve @pugleesa @Justice_Collab @gregggonsalves

TODAY from 12-2! There will be a Covid townhall for folks in Metro Detroit. Today's town hall will feature our staff attorney, Joe McGuire ... who will be answering your questions around housing!

LAST NIGHT federal court in Miami issued emergency restraining order requiring the jail to provide basic soap, sanitation, social ... distancing, laundry, etc... to almost 2,000 human beings confined there. Incredible work by @Dreamdefenders @cjpmiami @adv_project @CivRightsCorps

Sometimes it still stops me in my tracks that because I believe insulin should be free, workers shld be paid justly, we shld house the ... homeless and not cage families, & that all people should be free to pursue education as they wish,for THAT we are treated as radical & dangerous.

wait a second, something else happened in 2005 if I remember right ...

How'd a COVID-19 estimate go from 2 million to 100,000? Sociologist and health researcher @jimiadams explains what the models are modeling. ... Timely, compelling, and accessible -- I learned a lot from this one! New on @TheSocietyPages

Age-adjusted death rate from COVID-19 for NYC Hispanic and Black American population is roughly twice as high as for white population ...

We gave @JoeBiden a 75/200 on our scorecard.

If we bothered to waste time scoring Trump, he would receive a 0.

The scorecard is a live ... document, & we look forward to Biden updating his proposals to match the details & ambitions of his former rivals, & the scale of the crisis.

Jennifer is a nurse and a #DACA recipient. Our people are at the frontlines of the #COVID19 pandemic, all while a potential #SCOTUS ruling ... on their status lingers overhead. The Supreme Court MUST delay a ruling now!

Protect our workers. Many of them won’t be included in the $1200 distribution due to immigration status so they won’t even get that. We ... need a workers bailout immediately

As a former nursing mom I had to share this!! Md. Engineers Converting Breast Pumps Into Ventilators – NBC New York ...

Scotland is releasing people early who are near the end of a prison sentence and this piece notes the public supports the effort. We could ... do the same in the US if only we had leaders willing to do it.

Wow just wow. I lived a block away from this church when I taught at Columbia. 😳 ...

This is what leadership looks like.

History will look fondly on those who spoke out to save lives during this crisis.

BREAKING: Trump will nominate Justin Walker to the DC Circuit. He was just confirmed to the district court in October.

Walker was rated Not... Qualified. He had never tried a case. He's intensely opposed to the ACA. Another anti-health care nominee during a pandemic. It's SHAMEFUL.

THREAD ➡️Following AG Barr’s directive last week, BOP has approved 435 requests to move people in federal prisons to home confinement ... to prevent a deadly outbreak of #COVID19 behind bars. Though MUCH more needs to be done, I’m encouraged to see the BOP taking these steps.

Y’all, there is no time to waste on this. The health and safety of people living in jails/prisons/detention centers - of people who work ... there - and of people whose lives are connected to theirs (WHICH IS ALL OF US) - depend on getting people out AND supporting them in community.

Wow, does this resonate. And explains why I both crave and loathe video chats right now. Will our brains and hearts create a new category of... connection that makes sense to us? (Do we even want that?)

Thank you, @GovWhitmer - hoping all other political leaders in a position to do the same will follow! We have no time to waste. ... #reimaginejustice

@malcolm_john @FedSoc @tolmanbrett @arthurrizer @GCanaparo @AmySwearer @jennykim @EdMeeseIII 11 days later and this podcast has aged very ... well, John. Well done!

"Too often, probation has become a one-size-fits-all solution, the overuse of which has ultimately caused more problems than it has solved."...

A conservative approach to probation by @arthurrizer @nilabala3 and @emilymmooney of @rsi in @NationalAffairs.

Shout out to the Dollar store worker who said, “I don’t feel essential. I feel exhausted and expendable.” @DollarGeneral do the right ... thing by your workers. #pandemic

Whoever is #pandemic czar—@WhiteHouse. Kushner, Pence, Fauci—Push EVERY possible #coronavirus testing resource to Michigan & New ... Orleans now! @CDCgov @SpeakerPelosi @SenSchumer @KamalaHarris @CoryBooker @justice_votes @JustLeadersUSA @MichaelSteele @MHarrisPerry @LesterHoltNBC

I am irate at two forms of media coverage. In a time when getting anything published is impossible almost every major news outlet has a ... story up that pharma boy Shkreli wants to get out early to help on a #COVID response. Who. Cares.

Why would I smile and do “Horns Up”? A University of Texas graduate helping me change a blowout on I-40 in 5 pm trafffic! His name ... Francisco De Soto, 37-year-old mechanical engineer, from El Paso, Texas. Francisco had no idea who he was helping! @UTAustin #mechanicalengineering

“You don’t have any treatment options, or at least it seems to them that they don’t, so many judges and prosecutors feel that they ... have no choice but to lock people up." -- a quote from @ProfPamMetzger of @SMULawDeason in this important @NYTimes article:

Getting ready for @NobelPrize Award Cermony with Laureate John Goodenough