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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.

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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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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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

There is nothing normal about America’s criminal legal system - especially if it tries to send people back to prison after being in ... community for months with no public safety issues. Mass commutations needed. Let’s lift this dark cloud now.

So if I have it right, the argument goes like this:

— murders are surging because an entire profession would rather let people die than ... hold their colleagues accountable when they needlessly hurt and kill people

— we should hire thousands more for that profession

Billionaires’ huge private sector space achievement was a short 15 minute joyride flying into not-actually-space more than 50 years after ... government workers in the public sector flew a multi-day mission to the moon.

This by @SamTLevin might be the best piece addressing Venice Beach and the current hubbub over houselessness. Talks to actual people, ... focuses on the real risks, and engages with those trained in the field. Does not repeat law enforcement talking points.

‘I’m sorry, but it’s too late’ Alabama doctor on treating unvaccinated, dying COVID patients ...

To introduce the proposal of the Safer Pennsylvania Act, CSSJ Pennsylvania member Jody Coleman joined legislators to share her thoughts on ... why Pennsylvania survivors need these reforms. Thank you Jody for using your voice to advocate for others!

Congratulations to @VanJones68

This is a shocking and terrible loss for our community. Dr. Haley was a servant leader, an advocate for our city, and a wonderful person who... had a tremendous impact on those fortunate enough to know him.

Thank you again to everyone who has supported the ALS Jax CEO Soak fundraiser — in less than 2 days, you've given $3,200 to the cause.
I ... took the plunge this afternoon. The event raised $75,000 for cure research. There is still time to join my team at

Thank you!

In just over a day, you've donated nearly $2,000 toward research for a cure. Today, I'll be taking the plunge with several ... Jacksonville leaders for awareness about this disease.

There is still time to join my team:

Thanks for your support.

Former @SacPolice Chief John P. Kearns passed away. He was tenacious, humble, had VERY high expectations and emphasized community policing. ... He was my first chief & the only person who rendered me speechless. RIP JPK.

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.

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

@VinSchiraldi and @CorrectionNYC just rolled out #NEWDAYDOC. Read our initial plan to center our work on the humanity of everyone. We can ... and we will have a system that sees, values, and hears all touched by DOC. Join us as we take action to change current conditions. #NEWDAYDOC

NEW: New Jails Commish @VinSchiraldi is revealing his #NewDayDOC “comprehensive post-pandemic recovery” plan. Some changes: tablets for... all detainees, fixing busted cell doors, and blocking access to commissary to people who act out in violent ways.

🎉Join the Mayor's Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety (MAP) and our community partners tomorrow at The Hill in the Queensbridge Houses ... for a Community Healing Day! Enjoy food, music, and get information about resources for community wellness, youth development, and more! 🤲👨‍👩‍👧‍👦🏀

Through engagement with the Mayor's Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety, residents in the Brownsville and Van Dyke communities launched "Eat... Local, Eat Fresh," a farm stand of locally sourced produce in Brownsville, Brooklyn:

Since 2014, Cure Violence has expanded into a network of 30 community-based groups dedicated to reducing long-term violence in NYC's most ... at-risk neighborhoods

A rich, deep conversation both troubling and hopeful. Can the US lift the legal barriers facing ppl with criminal convictions? I agree with... @reubenjmiller that we can … and the time is now.

We’re #hiring! The Justice Lab has two open positions on our Youth Justice Initiatives team supporting our mission to end the use of youth... prisons and to shift resources to communities to support youth locally.

The Justice Department is hiring a Second Chance fellow—a formerly incarcerated person who will work on reentry—for just the second time... ever. Deadline is August 2. Apply 👉🏾

A hugely important moment made possible by generations of Black activists & organizers in Virginia. As is always the case, there were ... people who long fought for this statue to come down who never got a chance to see this moment for themselves, but their work made this possible.

We will never end mass incarceration by excluding violent offenses from reforms to the criminal legal system. ...

We have had a growing consensus that we cannot depend on the criminal legal system for our safety. A rise in gun violence does not change ... that—it reinforces the urgency of our investment in other solutions at scale.

Ankle Monitors Tether Wearers to the Carceral System: Study | The Crime Report ...

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.

This year for the first time, clients from the Care Campus Addiction Treatment Program are working at the Pennington County Sheriff’s ... Office jail garden. It’s a win-win program!

Great program for all!


Pennington County Jail announces Booking Tech Kara Gouldin as July’s Employee of the Month. Kara goes above and beyond when we are short ... staffed in booking or medical. She has a positive attitude, works efficiently and is a reliable team player. We greatly appreciate Kara!

Great interview with Larry Krasner on the power of data in driving reform & measuring results. All DA's should commit to transparency! ... After a Decisive Win in Philadelphia’s Democratic Primary, Larry Krasner Eyes the Future via @Arnold_Ventures:

A rich, deep conversation both troubling and hopeful. Can the US lift the legal barriers facing ppl with criminal convictions? I agree with... @reubenjmiller that we can … and the time is now.

Congratulations to @Stan_Fortune for making history. A great leader at the right time. Tx to @VinSchiraldi for bold move. He was once ... incarcerated on Rikers Island. Now, he'll help New York City close the notorious jail. via @usatoday

“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!

Beautiful remembrance of Bob Moses from Margaret Burnham: Remembering Bob Moses, 1935–2021 ⁦@thenation⁩ ...

There’s so much more we could be talking about, planning, designing and creating. Can we please end incarceration of women and girls so we... can get to it! @thecouncilus #ReimaginingCommunities #FreeHerCampaign #FreeHer ….period.

I just keep thinking about the letter of gratitude that Bob Moses sent to Fannie Lou Hamer’s family in 1977 when she passed. Blessed are ... the well-mentored. Abundant is the intergenerational movement. Love to all who love across lifetimes. 💜🙏🏽💜

Just out! Hope it is as much fun to read as it was to think through and write:

Hugely important point that has implications for the entire discourse on how to deal with violence.

We're delighted to report that School of SSESW Criminology lead Shadd Maruna has been elected President of the American Society of ... Criminology, the largest and oldest #criminology society in the world. Read more about plans for his new role at @criminology

You won’t catch me in MO or Ark. And I’m fully vaxxed. People really need to get it together. Vaccinations protect you and save lives

Well @SouthwestAir is losing the post pandemic race to @Delta and @UnitedAirlines_ . My @SouthwestAir flt #1564 to Chicago delayed over 90 ... min. Fly’s on other airlines on time and even early! Hope 1564 makes up time

“He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have... flaws, and so on ad infinitum.”

@grace_panetta @cdechalus Merrick Garland is not meeting this moment.

Emily @GalvinAlmanza has a “whole person” approach to justice and safety that everyone should emulate: “If we really want to make a ... dent in rising crime rates, we should push support toward public defense” of the sort Partners for Justice exemplifies:

I am pleased to welcome Rashida Richardson to the Science and Society team @WHOSTP. Her combination of legal, policy, and civil rights ... insight into emerging technologies and automated systems is incisive and unparalleled.

Happy birthday to our namesake Ida B. Wells!
Born in 1862, Ida B. Wells was a trail-blazing African American investigative journalist, ... abolitionist and feminist who led an anti-lynching crusade in the United States in the 1890s. #HappyBirthdayIdaB

This #JusticeFirst, we're reflecting on what it means to be truly free, and the gap between our nation's ideals of freedom and liberty and ... the reality Black and brown people face every day. 1/4

Finally made it to Maine! I have now been to all 50 states!

"Cryptocurrencies: What are they good for?"

My opening statement at today's Presidential Comm'n on #SCOTUS hearing - - @EdMeeseIII @FedSoc ... @DougDeason @tolmanbrett @arthurrizer @vpreddy

Steven Weinberg, the 1979 Nobel laureate for physics, died today. A delightful companion who loved theater, he could recite the poetry of ... Gerard Manley Hopkins by heart, and wrote profoundly about the mysteries of creation. He loved life and left it reluctantly. He’ll be missed.

I am shocked by how much I still miss him, but not, upon examination, at all surprised. He was a remarkable, remarkable man, who wrote an ... equally remarkable book.

Really missing Mark today. With the twin goals of crime control and justice at the top of the public agenda, we badly need his analysis and ... insights, his wizardly turns of phrase, and his incredibly wry and biting sense of humor.