Unintended: The Promises and Perils of Criminal Justice Reform

Law Engaged Graduate Students Symposium

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 9:00am
300 Wallace Hall
Event Category: 

In the last few years policymakers on both sides of the political aisle and across the country have turned their attention to criminal justice reform. Such reforms represents decades of work undertaken by activists, social scientists, and policy experts to respond to the negative consequences of “tough on crime” legislation. Pointing to the devastating effects of mass incarceration and the disproportionate impacts of these policies on poor people and people of color, the huge cost of these programs on state and local budgets, and the way these policies have further frayed community and police relations, a consensus has emerged that the criminal justice policies of the past several decades have failed and that reform is needed. While this shift in policy priorities is to be lauded, a small but growing number of scholars raise the question of whether reform is enough. These critics wonder about the long term efficacy and potential “unintended” consequences of criminal justice reform, making the case that more drastic policy must be undertaken and that reform cannot begin and end with the criminal justice system.

Inspired by these critiques, this symposium asks that we take a step back and examine this criminal justice reform closely, creating the space for dialogue and debate about the “unintended,” unforeseen, and unanticipated impacts of reform efforts.


9:00am – 9:10am
Opening Remarks


9:10am to 10:40am
Panel 1: At the Whims of the System: The Effects of Reform on Vulnerable Communities

Discussant: Prof. Jessica Eaglin (LAPA Fellow;  Indiana University Maurer School of Law)

Marina Bell (University of California Irvine)

Gabriella Kirk (Northwestern University)

Eric Goldfischer (University of Minnesota)

Kathryn Bocanegra (University of Chicago)


10:45am to 12:15pm
Panel 2: Prosecutors, Police, and Parole Officers: Examining Institutional Actors

Discussant: Prof. Naomi Murakawa (Princeton University)

Chloe Haimson (University of Wisconsin)

Matt Barno (University of California Irvine)

Jackson Smith (New York University)

Cory Isaacs (Princeton University)


12:30pm to 2:00pm

Mike Lee, Philadelphia Office of the District Attorney 


2:15pm to 3:45pm
Panel 3: Civil Society and the Fight for Reform

Discussant: Prof. Paul Hirschfield (Rutgers University)

Daniel Ewert (Princeton University)

Derecka Purnell (Advancement Project)

Marco Brydoff-Horwitz (University of Washington)

Brandon Hunter (Princeton University)


4:30pm to 6:00pm
Concluding Roundtable