John Jay College Report on American Justice Summit Spotlights Criminal Justice Reform Movement

John Jay College Report on American Justice Summit Spotlights Criminal Justice Reform Movement

John Jay College Report on American Justice Summit Spotlights Criminal Justice Reform Movement

New York, NY, May 6, 2015 – John Jay College of Criminal Justice served as the institutional partner and host to Tina Brown Live Media’s groundbreaking American Justice Summit, held November 10, 2014, and has now contributed its expertise to a white paper evaluating the event. The report, Moving the Needle on Justice Reform,” combines information from dozens of interviews with presenters and audience members, as well as footage from the event itself and other sources. It places the event within the context of a new and growing bipartisan movement toward criminal justice reform, charts its influence on this movement, and summarizes the policy reforms that summit presenters brought to the table.

The Justice Summit was an unprecedented public meeting of some of the leading individuals working in contemporary criminal justice reform. Speaking before an audience of roughly 600 practitioners, activists, students, elected officials and policy professionals, participants discussed the scope and contours of the problems posed by the country’s dysfunctional and interlocking systems of criminal justice. Among the topics explored in panel discussions and interviews were:

  • Alternatives to juvenile incarceration.
  • Barriers to successful prisoner reentry.
  • Breaking the cycle of urban poverty, violence and alienation.
  • Police-community relations.
  • The disproportionate criminalization of young people, people of color and the mentally ill.

This report, drafted by a team led by Daniel Stageman, Director of Research Operations for John Jay’s Office for the Advancement of Research, describes points of consensus and divergence among the gathered experts. It details the full range of their proposed solutions, evaluates the event’s impact on the participants and the audience, and considers potentially fruitful directions for future efforts on a similar template.

Among the consensus policy reforms offered by the Justice Summit were:

  • An end to mandatory minimum sentences, and to life sentences without parole.
  • More non-incarceration alternative interventions for nonviolent drug offenders and the mentally ill.
  • Greater emphasis by law enforcement on community building and engagement.

The report attempts to address the context of a fast-moving reform conversation and an ideologically inclusive movement, the shape and focus of which is in constant flux as it takes place across academic institutions, policy forums and media platforms.

Click here to view complete video footage of the Justice Summit.

Click here to view President Travis on MSNBC's Morning Joe discussing the report's findings and criminal justice reform.