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The economic and social effects of crime and mass incarceration in the United States

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Crime and high rates of incarceration impose tremendous costs on society, with lasting negative effects on individuals, families, and communities. These high costs highlight the need for both effective crime-prevention strategies and smart sentencing policies, in addition to strategies for reaching at-risk youths.

On May 1st, The Hamilton Project at Brookings hosted a forum and released three new papers focusing on crime and incarceration in the United States. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin delivered opening remarks.

The first panel discussed a new proposal by Steven Raphael of UC Berkeley and Michael Stoll of UCLA for reducing incarceration rates in the United States through sentencing reform and changes to the financial incentives facing state and local governments. A second panel discussed a new proposal by Jens Ludwig and Anuj Shah, both of the University of Chicago, outlining a strategy for scaling out an educational program—the “Becoming a Man” (BAM) program —to help disadvantaged youths recognize high-stakes situations in which their automatic responses may lead to trouble.

The panels featured leading policymakers and practitioners, including Dean Esserman, New Haven Chief of Police; Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the Office of Criminal Justice for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; Cristine DeBerry, Chief of Staff for the District Attorney for the City and County of San Francisco; and Robert Listenbee, Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention for the U.S. Department of Justice. Academic experts Daniel Nagin, Professor of Public Policy and Statistics at Carnegie Mellon University and co-editor of Criminology and Public Policy, and Laurence Steinberg, Professor of Psychology at Temple University and an internationally recognized expert on psychological development during adolescence, also joined the discussion.


1:00 p.m. Welcome and Introductions

Robert E. Rubin
Co-Chair, Council on Foreign Relations; Former U.S. Treasury Secretary

1:10 p.m. Roundtable: A New Approach to Reducing Incarceration While Maintaining Low Rates of Crime

Author: Steven Raphael
Professor of Public Policy, Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley

Author: Michael Stoll
Professor and Chair of Public Policy, School of Public Affairs; Associate Director, Center for the Study of Urban Poverty, University of California, Los Angeles

Discussant: Dean Esserman
Police Chief, New Haven, Connecticut

Discussant: Cristine DeBerry
Chief of Staff for the District Attorney, City and County of San Francisco

Discussant: Daniel Nagin
Teresa and H. John Heinz III University Professor of Public Policy and Statistics, Carnegie Mellon University

Moderator: Melissa S. Kearney
Director, The Hamilton Project

3:00 p.m. Break

3:15 p.m. Roundtable: A New Approach to Preventing Youth Violence and Dropout

Author: Jens Ludwig
McCormick Foundation Professor of Social Service Administration, Law, and Public Policy, The University of Chicago

Discussant: Elizabeth Glazer
Director, Office of Criminal Justice for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

Discussant: Robert Listenbee
Administrator, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice

Discussant:  Laurence Steinberg
Distinguished University Professor and Laura H. Carnell Professor of Psychology, Temple University

Moderator: Jim Tankersley
Economic Policy Correspondent
The Washington Post

4:00 p.m. Forum Adjourns

Event Forum

The National Press Club


Follow @hamiltonproj and see the conversation using #SmartSentencing

Available Downloads

Full, unedited transcriptpdf


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