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Parsimony and Other Radical Ideas About Justice


After decades of overpolicing and ever-more-punitive criminal justice measures, the time has come for a new approach to violence and community safety. Parsimony and Other Radical Ideas About Justice brings together leading activists, legal practitioners, and researchers, many of them justice-involved, to envision a justice system that applies a less is-more framework to achieve the goal of public safety. Grounded in a new social contract heralding safety not punishment, community power not state power, the book describes a paradigm shift where justice is provided not by police and prisons, but in healing from harm. 

A distinguished cast of contributors shows that a parsimonious approach to punishment, alongside a reckoning with racism and affirmation of human dignity, would fundamentally change how we respond to harm. We would encourage mercy in the face of violence, invest in community-based strategies, address the trauma lying at the heart of mass incarceration, reduce pretrial incarceration, close the democracy gap between community residents and government policymakers, and eliminate youth prisons among other significant changes to justice policy. Parsimony and Other Radical Ideas About Justice offers a bold and constructive new framework for thinking about the society we want.


Contributors to the book include: Jeremy Travis; Bruce Western; Daryl Atkinson; Tracey Meares; Arthur Rizer; Vincent Schiraldi; James Austin; Anamika Dwivedi; Vivian Nixon; Elizabeth Trosch; Matthew Desmond; Greisa Martínez Rosas; Abbey Stamp; Nneka Jones Tapia; Laura Hawks; Evangeline Lopoo,; Lisa Puglisi; Emily Wang; Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo; Lynda Zeller; Jackie Prokop; Elizabeth Glazer; Patrick Sharkey; Katharine Huffman; Robert Rooks; Nancy Gertner; Thomas Harvey; Amanda Alexander and Danielle Sered. 

All 50 governors get Parsimony!

They might not know what parsimony is yet, but the nation’s governors will soon! Square One recently mailed all 50 governors and the mayor of Washington, D.C. a copy of Parsimony, accompanied by this letter from Square One executive director Katharine Huffman. She pointed out that, “Even if each governor implemented just a few of the concepts explored here, it would go a long way to making our states safer and more just.”