Exploring Criminal Justice Challenges Under the Obama Administration


guggfrontpic_page_1On February 2nd and February 3rd 2009, the 4th Annual Harry Frank Guggenheim Symposium on Crime in America took place at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Conducted by the Center on Media, Crime and Justice and the H.F. Guggenheim Foundation, 15 journalism fellows gathered for two days to discuss the challenges in the criminal justice system under the Obama Adminstration.

Access the program brochure here.

Speakers included Judge Nancy Gertner, U.S. District Federal Court, Massachusetts, Prof. Todd Clear, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Laurie Robinson, acting Deputy Attorney, Obama Administration, John Rennie, former editor-in-chief, Scientific American, Peter Neufeld, co-founder and director, The Innocence Project, and Hugo Teufel, former Chief Privacy Officer, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, among others.

Panel 1: Crime Trends in America 2009: Crime and Urban Violence in a Distressed Economy

Speakers: Col. Dean Esserman, Chief of Police, Providence, RI, Prof. Delores Jones-Brown, John Jay College, Prof. Richard Rosenfeld, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Prof. John Klofas, Rochester Institute of Technology

Panel 2: The Sentencing and Corrections Challenge: Reinventing the Criminal Justice System

Speakers: Judge Nancy Gertner, Federal Judge, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, Prof. Todd Clear, John Jay College, Beryl Howell, Commisioner, U.S. Sentencing Commision, Executive of Stroz Friedberg, Rep. Terrance D. Carroll, Colorado House of Representatives, Adam Gelb, Director, Public Safety Performance Project, Pew Center on the States

Keynote Speaker: Judith S. Kaye, former Chief Judge, New York State

Panel 3: A Conversation About Justice

Speskers: Laurie Robinson, former Assistant D.A., Obama Administration, David Hagy, Former Director, National Institute of Justice, Virginia Sloan, President, Constitution Project, Prof. Alfred Blumstein, Carnegie Mellon University, Ethan Nadelman, Executive Director, Drug Policy Alliance

Panel 4: Privacy, Civil Liberties and Homeland Security

Speakers: John Timoney, Police chief of the City of Miami, Eric Litchblau, reporter, new york Times, Hugo Tuefel III, former Chief Privacy Officer, Department of Homeland Security, Patrick Radden Keefe, Fellow, The Century Foundation

Panel 5: The Future of Forensics

Speakers: Peter Neufeld, Co-director and Co-founder, The Innocence Project, Prof. Adina Schwartz, John Jay College, John Collins, Managing Editor, Crime Lab Report, Prof. Thomas Kubic, John Jay College

Panel 6: The Online World and Crime

Speakers: Jeff Cisar, Special Agent FBI, Bankrobbers.com, Doug Salane, Director, Center for Cybercrime Studies, John Jay College, Eric Cadora, Director, Justice Mapping Center, Peter Hermann, Columnist, Baltimore Sun

Conference handout and resources:

Conference Agenda (6 pages)

Challenging Firearms and Toolmark Identification by Adina Schwartz: Part 1 (9 pages), Part 2 (9 pages)

Criminal Justice Journalists Crime Coverage Survey and Conference Call, 2008

Criminal Justice Journalists Case Study: Dallas Morning News

Criminal Justice Journalists Case Study: The Charlotte Observer

Video from the conference:

“Do We Need More Cops?”


*NOTE: full DVDs of all panels from the 4th annual Harry Frank Guggenheim Symposium are NOW available on request. Please contact Daonese Johnson-Colon via e-mail at djohnson-colon@jjay.cuny.edu

PANEL 1: Crime in a Distressed Economy

Can Stimulus Spending Impact Crime rates?

PANEL 2: Reinventing the Criminal Justice System

State policymakers, criminologists and NGOs on the need for changes in sentencing, corrections and re-entry policies.

PANEL 3: A Conversation About Justice

Insiders from the Obama and Bush administrations explore the new challenges facing the Department of Justice

PANEL 4: Does Security Trump Civil Liberties?

Homeland Security Experts, journalists and civil libertarians discuss domestic counter-terrorism priorities

PANEL 5: Science, Crime and Forensics

Experts debate the growing controversy about the value of forensic evidence

PANEL 6: The Online World and Crime

FBI Special Agent Jeff Cisar describes how the FBI uses the web to catch bank robbers (bankrobbers.com)

New York State Corrections Commissioner Brian Fischer announces new NY State prison closings, Feb 2, 2009

“The Window is Closing”

John Jay 2009 prizewinner Eric Nalder of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer warns of the threats to criminal justice investigative journalism.

Articles by conference fellows:

GOTHAM GAZETTE: “A Tangle of Problems Links Prisons, Foster Care” and “To Reunite Families, Agencies Try a Holistic Approach” by Michelle Chen

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