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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.

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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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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I am excited to lead this important work. Thank you @Chicago_Beyond.

It is a great day in Illinois! ...

Congress ending billions of dollars in federal funding for local policing (COPS, Byrne Jag, 1033) and shifting that money towards community ... safety programs, is more important--and would be more impactful--than the Justice in Policing Act.

Justice In Policing authorizes even more money to police for trainings that we know don’t work. The problem is both institution and ... individual.

Any policing bill should ask the question “how does this limit or decrease the interaction between police and the public?”

As long as ... policing exists police violence will exists, we cannot legislate our way out of that.

"The most unconscionable part of all of this is that its happening to primarily Black and Brown individuals who’ve already been ... historically marginalized. This bill is long overdue, it's common sense, and it's in the interest of public safety." @misterjayjordan from @safeandjust

We are thrilled to announce the expansion of our leadership team! @misterjayjordan, @ShakyraDiaz, @Aswad_Thomas, @shaefaz, and ... @TinischHollins will take on new roles to help us continue to achieve #SharedSafety for all.

Read More:

The smear campaign against Vanita Gupta has no credibility. She has broad support from law enforcement leaders and advocates for reform. ... It would be a shame if the Senate does not follow suit.

This morning I enjoyed speaking with my alma mater's @UFLaw clinic students as part of the Virgil Hawkins Clinics Speaker Series. I shared a... few of the most difficult, impactful, and funny lessons I've learned during my legal career thus far. Thanks for inviting me. Go🐊!

TOMORROW at 1pm ET: Join #NCCCJ commissioners @T_Inglesby @impastormike_ @Nelson4SAO for a Q&A with @germanrlopez. The topic: #NCCCJ’s... final report outlining a roadmap toward a post-#COVID19 system that provides better safety and justice for all.

Pleased to join my colleagues on @CouncilonCJ's #NCCCJ as we release the final set of concrete steps that criminal justice leaders can take ... to contain the spread of #COVID19 and create a better post-pandemic justice system. Read more here:

Dear friends, I am truly grateful and honoured that you are sending so much love! 🙏 ...

In addition to her countless other accomplishments, Chief Juanita Holmes is the first woman to hold the prestigious title of ... @NYPDChiefPatrol.

As we kick off #WomensHistoryMonth, we’re reminded that the women of the NYPD continue to make history every day — NY’s #finest.

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

Each day >5k people are incarcerated across NYS on #parole violations. It drives #MassIncarceration, exacerbates racial inequity, & ... costs $$$. Our expert panel discusses origins and reform. Register: Take action: #LessIsMoreNY

REGISTER: March 11 6:30-8:30pm ET - @NYCBarAssn hosts a panel on how technical parole violations drive #massincarceration w/@VinSchiraldi ... @DonnaHylton @bm_mansamusa @katalcenter @LegalAidNYC @MoreJustNYC & more #LessIsMoreNY

A prime reason why NY legislators should pass #LessIsMoreNY this year.

In 2020, our partners were essential in helping people safely transition into their communities from custody, especially with the unique ... challenges precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following extensive engagement through #NStat, public housing residents and partners quickly shifted from participatory projects to ... ​strengthening local networks of support to address the COVID-19 pandemic. @courtinnovation @LosSures @Riis_Settlement

The last year was full of unique challenges but also inspiring moments. We’re proud of all our friends and partners in communities for ... lifting their fellow New Yorkers in moments of crisis.

With first use of "decarceration" in @NEJM, we explain why vaccines are not enough to stop carceral outbreaks. We need urgent policy action:... large-scale releases & changes to jailing policies to protect incarcerated ppl & broader communities, esp of color.

In "Toward a New Social Contract," SQ1 RT Participant @dsallentess shows us that to #ReimagineJustice, we must move away from alienation in ... order to restore health to communities.

Unequal: A series on race and inequality in America leads today with policing and criminal justice — featuring @KhalilGMuhammad ... @sandrassmith5 @brandonmterry and more

Increasing funding to community policing programs is not the answer to violent crime. Investing in communities by addressing poverty, mental... healthcare, education, housing, and more is how we make our cities safer.

The US continually responds to people who have caused harm by seeking to reduce their power—to be free, make a living wage, participate in... democracy...What if instead of diminishing their power, we instead invited & built people's power to contribute meaningfully to repair?

This week we had the honor of hosting a webinar with @daniellesered, an amazing human and all around badass. She will make you question your... assumptions about safety and the criminal legal system. Thank you, Danielle! Watch here:

Our criminal system has been rooted in racism, classism & fearmongering messaging for decades. It’s what led to mass incarceration.

... It’s what perpetuated a cycle of poverty & despair that has led to more, not less, crime & victims.

Many are resistant to change, but it’s time.

Do we still have to do dry January during a white supremacist coup attempt? Its ok to have wine 🍷 now, right? And maybe cookies...

Hey @tacojohnsrapidcitySD! A big thanks for the generous gift of a combo meal to all the law enforcement at @PennCoSheriff. @tacojohns

Multiple Felony Warrants issued for Brian Leroy Dubray for Aggravated Assault Domestic, False Imprisonment, 3rd Degree Burglary, Criminal ... Entry of a Motor Vehicle, Theft by Threat Extortion and Petty Theft. If you know his whereabouts, contact @PennCoSheriff at 605-394-6117

Congratulations to the four PCSO graduates of the 13-week Law Enforcement Training Academy in Pierre: Rio Shearer, Andrew Nyblom, Caleb ... Dirksen and Wes McPherson.

Wise words from @Abt_Thomas & rick rosenfeld of @CouncilonCJ. To reduce rising homicide rates focus on real police reform; deep ... engagement w/ communities; supporting young men at risk; prioritize COVID vax for anti-violence workers.

Excited to share this timely expansion of our work to reduce barriers to full participation by ppl with criminal records Reintegration Added... to Growing Criminal Justice Work at Arnold Ventures via @Arnold_Ventures:

Appreciate the outstanding collaboration with @KevinARing & @Inimai. Next step is to get support from Biden-Harris team and movement in ... Congress.

In @yalelibrary archives researching pandemics & carcereal systems with @NIH #RadxUp team: 10 Black doctors inc. @YaleMed Dr. Augustus ... White protesting denial of treatment of incarcerated people, June 20, 1970, Bridgeport Post #healthequity begins with racial justice

SF back under curfew tonight.

As a Black physician, it’s anxiety-inducing to travel to/from work outside of curfew & risk interaction... w/ law enforcement.

Curfew w/o other evidence-based actions feels performative. First, provide $ relief, close non-essential indoor everything.

Únase a nosotros para un seminario virtual sobre los desafíos éticos y de implementación de la distribución de vacunas covid19 en las ... cárceles y prisiones, este miércoles (en español y ingles) @dacolon @CienciaPR @Sefini @marco4357 @moefeliu @DiegoAlcalaPR @AppDemography @YaleGH

Writing Prompt: An apology to a person/group from childhood (when you were 4-19yo). Don't let ego or fear stop you now; they've stopped you ... before. Don't defend yourself in the apology. Give no reason why you did it. Say why it was wrong, what you learned, and your recompense.

Really excited to see that HOW THE WORD IS PASSED got a starred review from @PublishersWkly today.

“Suffused with lyrical descriptions ... and incisive historical details... this is an essential consideration of how America’s past informs its present.”

This is so unbelievably exciting! Mariame Kaba cracks the code of the NYT Bestsellers list! ...

The race for NYC mayor is crowded, but this thoughtful profile of the brilliant @mayawiley by @rtraister goes a long way to explain why ... she's the best person for the job.

Doesn't make the news because there is not video. But this 5'3", 125 lbs., 23-year-old young man is dead and never even had a trial. The ... thread is heartbreak and tells a story of detention in Texas that is, of course, bigger than Texas.

Not a rhetorical question. Some pretty solid evidence suggests his words increased deaths by somewhere btwn 10-25% by the end of March 2020....

Please watch this. The toll of the virus has been unbearable. PLEASE wear yours masks. This is a hospital in AZ. ...

Wonderful, inspiring and heartbreaking all at once (you won’t understand the heartbreak unless you read the article). ...

The House just voted 224 to 206 to pass the #EqualityAct to end discrimination against LGBTQ Americans in housing, education, public ... accommodations and employment. This is thrilling progress for civil rights in America.

How pathetic. At least classic ambulance chasers have a noble excuse. Volunteering that he’d be honored to take on Trump’s defense — ... begging to be asked — looks like a new low for my former colleague.

Tribe: Cruz his student knows about the Constitution; he just doesn’t give a dam about it!

The GOP is hellbent on brainwashing Americans, so we need to break the spell and get actual leaders back in charge. To help, @JordanPeele ... and I are hosting a chat this Sunday about politics and horror to help @GeorgiaDemocrat get out the vote.

Join US:

I think @TeenVogue may be my favorite news outlet these days. These are among the many Black women who are changing the way justice looks in... this country. #ReimagineJustice

"We ourselves are the architects of our own healing." As Executive Director of @TheHAVI, Fatimah Loren Dreier has used her personal ... #healingjourney to propel the healing of others who have endured racial trauma.

Remembering Nina Simone, born on this day in 1933 in Tryon, North Carolina. Here she is performing “The Sound of Silence” in Montreux, ... Switzerland in 1968.

Results from a recent poll suggest a majority of Louisiana voters support more substantive criminal justice reform, including expanded ... parole for people serving long sentences and changes to mandatory sentencing laws. @theadvocatebr @lea_skene

A8: We've known about the glaring racial disparities in crack sentencing for decades. It's shameful we have not completely eradicated them ... when there's no empirical basis for treating crack more harshly. Racial justice demands that we #EndtheDisparity

#EndtheDisparity A7 As a right of center-er and a person of faith – this is EVERYTHING. Conservatives are supposed to lead the way on ... procedural due process. AND I truly believe in my heart, that Jesus would be super pissed at how unfair we treated our fellow brothers and sisters

Reimagining Policing in NYC via @YouTube

OK I’m getting off the Tweeter before I start getting accused of promoting cancel culture. Whatever the heck it is.

What does #rural criminal justice reform look like?

Find out at our #STARJustice event: Innovations in Rural Prosecution
Register here: ...

Folks, @policingproject is looking for a Director of Strategic Communications. We need a really great person to spread the word about our ... work and help us effect change. Can you help us find the right person? Please retweet this broadly or share with people you know!

I'm excited to announce my new casebook, The #LawofthePolice, for law students and others who care about how the law regulates the police ... and how it might do so better. At Amazon or the publisher: I am so grateful to everyone who helped make it happen.