*Times are approximate
Thursday, October 26, 2017
8:30 AM - 9:40 AM
Across the country, states are leading the way with criminal justice reforms that improve public safety, save taxpayer money, and respect human dignity. In many places, the result has been a drop in both crime rates and incarceration levels. As we kick off Advancing Justice 2017, Utah Senator Mike Lee and former Senator Jim DeMint discuss what has worked, what hasn’t, and offer strategies for future reform.
9:40 AM - 10:30 AM
Growing distrust, proactive policing tactics, and the spread of misinformation have contributed to a growing divide between police officers and the communities they are sworn to protect and serve. Jim Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation, and Barry Friedman, founding director of the New York University Policing Project, have worked to explore the origins of this divide and develop solutions that build stronger, safer communities. Here, they will present case studies of their recent work.
10:45 AM - 11:35 AM
Enter a prison with Defy Ventures, a nonprofit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and character development through a virtual reality experience. Hear the stories of those inside and learn about individuals who have transitioned from inmates to successful business people.
As opioid-related deaths continue to rise, states face growing costs and the complex problem of addiction. Given the role of prescription drug abuse, how can the medical community help address these issues? Can our criminal justice system better differentiate between users and dealers who monetize addiction to sell deadly drugs such as those laced with fentanyl? Join this panel of medical experts and law enforcement professionals for a conversation about the criminalization of addiction and alternative strategies for combatting drug abuse.
Public safety and crime reduction are at the heart of responsible criminal justice reform. While violent crime rates have steadily decreased over the last 50 years, some major cities have seen a recent uptick. What are policymakers doing to address violent crime in fragile communities? How can reform further drive down violent crime rates without endangering core values?
11:45 AM - 12:35 PM
Thoughtful criminal justice reform efforts should produce better outcomes not only for communities and families, but for victims of crime as well. Through many common-sense changes, the justice system can provide victims with a faster, more streamlined path towards justice and healing—yet the current bureaucracy often prevents it. Join this panel of victim advocates for a discussion around alternative approaches to restoration.
Trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve is fundamental to public safety and enables a shared responsibility in fighting crime. However, the use of surplus military-grade vehicles, weapons, and equipment obtained from the U.S. Department of Defense can make Mayberry’s local police chief look much more like a soldier at war. What are the unintended consequences to civil liberties and community trust with this show of force? Are these tools necessary to protect against 21st century threats?
As more states decriminalize, or legalize and regulate marijuana, many questions about the impact and implementation of these policy changes remain unanswered. What is the proper relationship between the states and federal government in enforcing this changing policy landscape? How can legislators at all levels of government work on behalf of taxpayers to address the unintended consequences of marijuana criminalization, better allocate resources, and maintain safe and healthy communities?
12:45 PM - 2:30 PM
Data, research, and evidence-based practices should inform criminal justice policy making, but finding the right resources at the right time can prove challenging for decision makers and their staff. Erik Luna unveils a groundbreaking compendium, bringing the expertise of top criminal justice scholars to your bookshelf.

As a national leader on criminal justice reform and Senate Judiciary Chair, Senator Grassley reveals what shaped his view on these issues, why criminal justice reform matters, and what to expect for the future of federal reform.
3:00 PM - 3:50 PM
Many states have made great strides towards a more effective and just corrections system, while others have proven to be more challenging environments for reform. Examining recent efforts in states such as Florida, Wisconsin, and Tennessee, this panel of lawmakers and advocates will consider what has worked, where improvements are needed, and where we can go from here.
With a federal criminal code that has ballooned to include nearly 5,000 offenses, most of us are liable to trip over the law without even knowing it. Unwittingly breaking obscure laws can lead to prosecution and prison time because often a proof of criminal intent (mens rea) is not required. This proliferation of vague, unenforceable laws undermines the consistency of our judicial system. This panel of academics will explore opportunities to rein in our criminal code and better protect Americans from becoming “accidental criminals.”
When a person is released from incarceration, they encounter a wall of legal barriers known as collateral consequences. Restrictions on obtaining housing, a driver’s license, educational opportunities, or even a license to work, can hinder individuals from rebuilding their lives and perpetuate the cycle of poverty and crime. This panel of experts and community leaders will discuss what types of problems these individuals face, and how we can help them to help themselves become productive members of our communities.
4:00 PM - 4:50 PM
While a growing number of states passed sentencing reforms in 2016, legislative efforts at the federal level stalled, and guidelines remain relatively unchanged. Considering that around 50 percent of the federal inmate population is incarcerated on drug charges with an average drug sentence of more than five years in prison, many have issued calls to reevaluate federal sentencing policy. A unique group of panelists look at what federal sentencing gets right and where there is room for improvement.
Driven by poor incentives, tiny budgets, and a need to move cases through the system as quickly as possible, public defenders are ill-equipped to match the resources of state prosecutors and bring robust defenses for their clients. This can lead to wrongful convictions that require years of litigation through the appeals process and expensive settlements. Join as experts discuss improvements to indigent defense systems that can help attorneys and the accused achieve better, more just, outcomes.
Civil asset forfeiture—a practice that allows law enforcement to seize and keep property they suspect is associated with crime—has sparked debate in recent years. Supporters of the practice argue that it is a necessary crime-fighting tool. Advocates for reform counter that putting the burden on individuals to prove their property was not associated with a crime is a due process violation. While many states have passed reforms to rein in the practice, the U.S. Department of Justice has expanded its use. What will become of the tension between state and federal policies in this area? Are defending individual liberty and protecting public safety at odds? Join as panelists from both persuasions discuss these and other questions.
4:50 PM - 6:30 PM
6:30 PM - 9:00 PM