The State of American Criminal Justice

Date and Time
December 7, 2016 11 AM - 6 PM EST
Hayek Auditorium, Cato Institute
Former Policy Analyst, Cato’s Project on Criminal Justice

American Criminal Justice

After another year of protests and unrest across the country, criminal justice reform remains a contentious issue. Some cities have experienced an increase in homicide rates, police departments are under intense scrutiny for their handling of police shootings, and prisoners are protesting living conditions. Meanwhile, policymakers are making scant progress to roll back mass incarceration.

Given the decentralized nature of the American criminal justice system, with some 18,000 law enforcement agencies spread across 50 state jurisdictions, which reforms are the most urgent, and what can we realistically expect to accomplish in the near term? To help answer these questions, the Cato Institute will host a conference to address the most pressing issues. The State of American Criminal Justice brings together experts from courtrooms, universities, prisons, and police departments to examine the myriad policies and incentives that drive the criminal justice system at its various stages—seeking insights, strategies, and solutions. Join us for a discussion on some of the most urgent criminal justice questions facing policymakers today at all levels of government.

9:30–10:00AM Registration
10:00–10:15AM Welcoming Remarks
10:15–11:15AM Panel 1: The Human Toll of Incarceration

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Kevin Ring, Vice President, Families against Mandatory Minimums
Marc Mauer, Executive Director, Sentencing Project
Keeda Haynes, Public Defender, Nashville Defenders
Moderated by Adam Bates, Policy Analyst, Project on Criminal Justice, Cato Institute

11:15–11:30AM Break
11:30AM–12:30PM Panel 2: From Attica to Mass Incarceration: How Did We Get Here?

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John Pfaff, Professor of Law, Fordham University
Jonathan Simon, Adrian A. Kragen Professor of Law and Director, Center for the Study of Law and Society, University of California, Berkeley
Heather Ann Thompson, Professor of History, University of Michigan
Moderated by Matthew Feeney, Policy Analyst, Cato Institute

12:30–1:30PM Lunch
1:30–3:00PM Panel 3: The Intersection of Technology, Oversight, and Legitimacy in 21st Century Policing

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Tracey Meares, Walton Hale Hamilton Professor of Law, Yale University
Elizabeth Joh, Professor of Law, University of California, Davis
Walter Katz, Independent Police Auditor, City of San Jose
Maj. Max Geron, Dallas Police Department
Moderated by Jonathan Blanks, Research Associate, Cato Institute

3:00–3:30PM Keynote

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Adam J. Foss, Prosecutor Integrity

3:30–3:45PM Break
3:45–4:45PM Panel 4: Inside the Courtroom

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Harvey Silverglate, Counsel Attorney, Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein LLP
Hon. Shira Scheindlin, United States District Judge, Southern District of New York (ret.); Of Counsel, Stroock, Stroock, & Lavan LLP
Ken White, Attorney, Brown, White & Osborn, LLP
Moderated by Trevor Burrus, Research Fellow, Center for Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute

4:45–5:00PM Closing Remarks
5:00–6:00PM Reception