New John Jay President Calls for Evidence-Based Justice Reform

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Karol Mason, the new president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, envisions expanding the school’s role so that it leads the national conversation on innovations in the courts, corrections and policing now that, she says, the U.S. Department of Justice has essentially bowed out, reports The Chief Leader in New York City.

Karol V. Mason

Charging that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is moving the clock back on justice issues by decades—“I’d say to the fifties”—John Jay is well-positioned to step up, said Mason, who served as an Assistant Attorney General under President Obama.

“We no longer have the federal leadership we’ve had on these issues and I’d like for John Jay to fill that void,” she said. “We don’t need the federal government to lead us and guide us to do these reforms. We can do it ourselves.”

She cited the importance of research on criminal justice, which she oversaw at DOJ and for which John Jay is well-known, to determine what works, so that money and lives can be saved.

“You assess things to find out if they’re a good investment,” she said. As an example, she said Sessions’s order to seek maximum prison terms for drug violators flies in the face of studies that show it’s addiction treatment, not incarceration, that breaks the cycle of criminality.

She also mentioned Scared Straight, a program popular in the 1980s in which troubled young people were brought to prisons and chastised by drug offenders. “They finally assessed it and realized that at best it does no good but that it also does harm,” she said.

At DOJ, Mason oversaw six agencies supervising such areas as juvenile justice, state and local grants, sex-offender reporting, crime prevention, statistics, and assistance to crime victims.

6 thoughts on “New John Jay President Calls for Evidence-Based Justice Reform

  1. It’s amazing to me how individuals with different political views seem to voice their opinions about the new leaders of the DOJ after their party is replaced. Where was Ms. mason and her opinion when Loretta Lynch tried to secretly meet with the husband of a DOJ subject? Where was she when the President of the United States was seducing White House Interns in the White House? People who live in glass houses should be careful about casting stones!

    • None of your criticisms of Ms. Mason are relevant to the point of the article. Criminal justice reform was a bi-partisan issue a year ago, and for most rational politicians it still is. Jeff Sessions represents a dangerous minority viewpoint as it relates to incarceration and criminality. Ms. Mason is right to try to lead the way in the right direction.

  2. Pingback: Too bad AG Sessions is not trying to take prison populations back to the 1980s or even the 1950s – Ben Lee

  3. Is she casting JJ as a shadow DOJ, because of changes she doesn’t like? Politicization of JJ’s role is clearly not the answer to her concerns and can only undercut the quality of scholarship. Needs a rethink.

  4. I agree that research and commitment can help to lead the way toward reforms. But we are talking about the task of changing minds, teams and police culture. This can be successfully done one agency at a time…if the key leaders will make the commitment to build better places to work…that in turn translates to safer communities through the development of relationships with key members of the community. See for more information about how to make organization-wide change happen.

  5. Pingback: As Trump attacks civil rights protesters, Attorney General Sessions takes his own anti-civil rights campaign to radio – Liberal View News

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