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The Justice Forum: Paradigms for Justice: Beyond Punishment

Public Humanities, Explorations in the Public Humanities, Arts, Humanities, and the Carceral State

  • The Center for Justice at Columbia University
  • Center for the Study of Law and Culture
  • Free and open to the public
  • First come, first seated

There is a growing consensus across the country about the devastating consequences of mass incarceration and criminal justice policy. Increasingly, scholars, clinicians, educators, politicians and activists are examining the ways in which punishment is used in many facets of our society including schools, courts, jails and prisons. Many have found that the use of punishment as the core of the criminal justice system is more damaging than useful. There is also a focus on the disproportionate use of punitive polices and practices in Black communities and low-income communities of color. This “punishment paradigm” needs to be replaced and people are exploring alternative approaches to harm done, discipline and conflict. This roundtable brings together scholars, educators, clinicians, activists and community members to critically examine the utility of punishment in our society and discuss alternative approaches to justice, accountability and safety. Speakers discuss alternative frameworks and responses including restorative justice theory and practice in different contexts; as well as a public health approach to analyzing the causes and consequences of behavior that is currently criminalized, with a particular focus on violence.

About The Justice Forum

Issues of mass incarceration and justice are complex and cut across many systems, structures, cultures, and communities. As such, the efforts and dialogues around changing the current criminal justice system must also cross disciplines, structures, cultures, and communities. The Justice Forum provides a space for leading thinkers in justice work from a variety of disciplines and experiences to collectively examine some of the most critical justice issues today. The Forum seeks to create a space for cross pollination of ideas and perspectives and contribute towards the efforts to rethink our current policies and practices in criminal justice.

  • Fania Davis Co-Founder and Executive Director Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY)
  • Danielle Sered Director Common Justice at the Vera Institute of Justice
  • John Valverde Associate Executive Director for Program Operations Osborne Association
  • Michelle Fine Distinguished Professor The Graduate Center, City University of New York
  • James Gilligan Clinical Professor of Psychiatry New York University