Working Group on Criminal Justice Reform
The deleterious results of America’s late twentieth-century prison boom are increasingly recognized across partisan and social lines. Excessive punishments don’t always ensure public safety, and the imprisonment of so many Americans for such long periods disrupts lives, undermines families and communities, exacerbates racial and class inequalities, and spreads cynicism and distrust about U.S. government and democracy. SSN members have led the way in pinning down causes, trends, and consequences of existing criminal justice practices in empirically rigorous and morally compelling ways, and they have now banded together in this Working Group to pursue two aims. First, Working Group participants are working to help specialists in different academic areas share findings and arrive at more powerful analyses. Secondly, through public outreach to legislators, the media, and relevant community and national leaders, they aim to provide everyone engaged in the current reconsiderations of U.S. criminal justice policy with the best data and information about the effects of past practices and the possibilities for effective reforms.