Phase 1, starting in January 2021, will create focus groups to address the three main goals:

  1. Enhance Community Safety and Cohesion
  2. Reduce Violence, Crime and Incarceration
  3. Transform Judicial and Prison Systems

Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, these focus groups will be held online

In the focus groups, a core network of stakeholders (see PARTICIPANTS in the left side menu) will be asked to:

  • Identify select stakeholders and relevant institutions to join, collaborate, and build a wider community;
  • Generate ideas, critical questions, and research outputs on pertinent topics;
  • Appraise measures and interventions along a continuum of radical innovation, gradual reform, and/or maintenance of the status quo; and 
  • Set priorities and build visibility for Phase 2 of the initiative. 

Based on the groups’ initial findings, content, and emerging questions, Phase 1 will include two to three larger-scale public webinars, co-created with partners and participants, to build visibility, momentum and wider public and policy interest in Phase 2 of the initiative. 


Phase 2 of this multi-year initiative will bring the core network of participants together (taking into account the health, safety, and possibility of international travel for participants with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic) for a structured sequence of programs at Schloss Leopoldskron, home of Salzburg Global Seminar, follow-up workshops in the US, and tailored online working groups, to focus on these three broader topics in an integrated way.  

In Phase 2, stakeholders will identify and spearhead the most promising global examples of violence reduction and criminal justice transformation, proven through research to be effective, viable, and replicable. In today’s polarized societies, solutions are urgently needed as the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates existing inequities, and drivers of violence. Participants will identify and evaluate approaches, tools and technologies in four specific fields: 

  1. New intervention points that could have long-term benefits for reducing violence, injustice, racism, and implicit bias/prejudice in and outside criminal justice systems; 
  2. Multi-country comparisons, focusing initially on national/subnational jurisdictions that have pioneered successful approaches in criminal justice policy and practice;
  3. Direct engagement of people and communities of color and other marginalized communities to learn from and amplify their voices; 
  4. New initiatives to change attitudes, behaviors, and investments, responding to racial and social justice protests in the United States and around the world and to risks and demands driven by the pandemic. 

The initiative will communicate and disseminate the most promising research-based strategies to reduce rates of violence, incarceration, and recidivism to policy makers and communities in the US and globally through publications, media, products, video interviews/documentaries, targeted recommendations, and a future cross-sector research agenda.