JUSTICE IN THE TRUMP ERA
President Donald Trump takes office at a moment when fears of rising crime coincide with an emerging bipartisan research-and-practice agenda that focuses on addressing the inequities and inefficiencies that have long characterized the U.S. justice system. A March 2016 Gallup poll, for example, found that 53 percent of Americans “worry a great deal” about crime and violence—an increase of 14 percentage points over 2014, and the highest figure Gallup recorded on this question since 2001.
The 45th president exploited those fears with a campaign that echoed the “law and order” rhetoric prevalent in the 1990s. And in his first month in office, he has vowed to address the “carnage” in America’s cities and to reinforce federal support for police. At the same time, his new attorney general Jeff Sessions has promised to take a hardline against what he claims is a rising trend of criminality
While the poll figures partly reflect intense media coverage during a polarizing election campaign, and respond to a measurable increase in homicides and other violent crimes in selected cities across the country, most criminologists and law enforcement authorities dispute the president’s assertions.
The difference in perspectives poses challenges to policymakers at federal, state and local levels. How can a new Administration, a new Congress, and a new group of legislators navigate this uncertain environment? Have policymaking options been narrowed? What drives the persistent and worrying violence in many parts of the country? And how can the media provide responsible perspectives on the debate?
To explore these questions, journalists, academics and policymakers gathered at John Jay College Feb 16-17, 2017 for the 12th annual John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim Symposium on Crime in America.
Speakers included: Tracie Keesee, Deputy Commissioner, NYPD; Flozell Daniels Jr of the Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Task Force; Cherise Fanno Burdeen of the Pretrial Justice Institute; Nick Turner of the Vera Institute of Justice; and David Kennedy of the National Network for Safe Communities at John Jay College.
Read the full conference program HERE
Twenty-six U.S. journalists from print, online and broadcast outlets were awarded Reporting Fellowships to attend the conference, including five who received special fellowships from the Quattrone Center on the Fair Administration of Justice for projects examining systemic issues in the justice system. These unique fellowships are aimed at encouraging and promoting top-quality journalism on criminal justice. The Fellows were selected from a wide pool of applicants based on editors’ recommendations, and on investigative reporting projects underway or in the planning stage. Their published work will be posted on these pages during the course of 2017.
A full list of the journalism fellows is available here.
RESOURCES FROM THE SYMPOSIUM
Annual Year-End Review of Criminal Justice News Coverage in 2016 (Criminal Justice Journalists)
Too Quick to Shoot? ( March 12, 2017 The Sacramento Bee)
When Twisted Justice Stops Prisoners from Starting Over (Part 1 of series, June 19, 2017, USA Today)
University of Minnesota Student Takes on Injustices in the Bail System (April 5, 2017, Minneapolis Star Tribune)
Hella Winston (Quattrone Fellowship)
Abandoned Justice:263 Vacated Murder Convictions, 16 New Suspects Charged (July 2,2017, Daily Beast)