The Path Forward Event


n March 10, 2015, Vera convened a public forum called Justice in Focus: A Path Forward, whose 15 participants and five panels pivoted from the legacy of the Crime Bill and its contribution to the current state of our criminal justice system to how we can move forward in a bipartisan fashion. We now invite you a look at what we learned at the event and in the past 6 months.

The Big Picture: E.J. Dionne, Jr. of the Washington Post and Brookings Institution moderated a conversation on the economic impact of incarceration between Robert Rubin, Co-Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations and former U.S. Treasury Secretary, and Vera President and Director Nicholas Turner.

Police and the Community: Laurie Robinson, co-chair of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, sat down with NPR’s Carrie Johnson to talk about opportunities for improving police-community relations—from new technology options to cultural shifts—and discussed some of the findings of the President’s task force.

  • Read Laurie Robinson’s statement for Justice in Focus on the research funding spurred by the Crime Bill.
  • Read and listen to Carrie Johnson’s NPR coverage of the 20th anniversary of the Crime Bill.

Firsthand Experiences: Stanley Richards of the Fortune Society and Craig DeRoche of Justice Fellowship talked with Fred Patrick, director of Vera's Center on Sentencing and Corrections, about their experiences as actors in the criminal justice system, and now as advocates for reform through reentry and restorative justice efforts.

  • Watch Stanley Richard’s perspective for Justice in Focus on opting out of a punishment-only criminal justice model.
  • Watch Craig DeRoche’s perspective for Justice in Focus on pursing restorative justice.
  • Watch Fred Patrick’s perspective for Justice in Focus on the promise of higher education in prisons.

Leading on Criminal Justice: Senator Cory Booker sits down for a keynote interview with Bill Keller, editor-in-chief of The Marshall Project. Senator Booker spoke about what aspect of criminal justice reform he’d most like to see, taking a broad-based versus piece-by-piece legislative approach, and what agenda advice he’d give to a future presidential candidate.

  • Read our blog post about the interview and Senator Booker’s REDEEM act.

The Policy OpportunityNew York Times editorial board member Jesse Wegman moderated a panel with William Ruger of the Charles Koch Institute, Norman Reimer of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Michael Mitchell of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and Vikrant Reddy of Right on Crime. The four panelists shared policy success stories—from Texas to California—and the “low hanging fruit” in the reform movement.

  • Listen to Right on Crime’s Marc Levin’s perspective on Justice in Focus on the conservative approach to criminal justice reform.