Salzburg Global Launches Major New Cross-National Collaboration on Criminal Justice Reform

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Dec 21, 2020
by Louise Hallman
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Salzburg Global Launches Major New Cross-National Collaboration on Criminal Justice Reform

New multi-year series Global Innovations on Youth Violence, Safety, and Justice  is supported by MacArthur Foundation, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, and the David Rockefeller Fund

Salzburg Global Seminar, supported by a consortium of funders, is to launch a major new cross-national collaboration in January 2021 to tackle issues of youth violence and to promote youth safety and criminal justice reform.

The Global Innovations on Youth Violence, Safety, and Justice initiative is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the David Rockefeller Fund, and will bring together community activists, public officials, legal experts, law enforcement, academics, media and formerly incarcerated persons.

Founded on the premise that serial failures to redress social, legal, and economic injustice and structural racism underpin societal violence and disproportionally shape politics, policing and judicial systems around the world, this ambitious collaboration seeks to address the structural determinants of injustice, racism and prejudice. 

Phase one of the initiative, launching in January 2020, will feature small focus group meetings, online discussions and public webinars focused on three questions: how to enhance community safety and cohesion; reduce violence, crime and incarceration; and ultimately transform judicial and prison systems.

Phase two will see participants come together at Schloss Leopoldskron, home of Salzburg Global Seminar, in late 2021 (COVID-19 permitting) and take part in follow-up workshops in the US and tailored online working groups to further accelerate learning and exchange.  

Initial Focus

Starting with an initial focus on the United States and selected countries in Latin America and Europe, the initiative will examine national/subnational jurisdictions that have pioneered successful approaches in criminal justice policy and practice. 

The most promising research-based strategies to reduce rates of violence, incarceration and recidivism for policymakers and communities in the US and globally will be shared widely through publications, media, products, video interviews/documentaries, targeted recommendations, and a cross-sector future research agenda. 

“This initiative could not be timelier,” explained Clare Shine, Salzburg Global Vice President and Chief Program Officer. “2020 has seen not only the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic but also widespread protests against racial and social injustice. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a threat multiplier, exacerbating existing inequities and drivers of violence and highlighting the urgent need for criminal justice reform. This is especially true with respect to overcrowded prisons in the United States which have become coronavirus hotspots and generated greater health risks in general. 

“We look forward to working with our partners – the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the David Rockefeller Fund – to identify the most promising global examples of violence reduction and criminal justice transformation proven through research to be effective, viable and replicable.” 

Institutional Commitment

The Global Innovations on Youth Violence, Safety, and Justice initiative takes forward Salzburg Global’s Commitment to a Better World, issued in response to the Black Lives Matter protests in spring/summer 2020.

“This project is a major part of Salzburg Global’s actions to deliver on our Commitment,” explained Stephen L. Salyer, Salzburg Global President and CEO. “We recognize that the original sins of racism, slavery and genocide that underpin the foundations of the United States have never been adequately addressed and that policing and judicial systems disproportionately exploit, harass, incarcerate and kill those whose ancestors were subject to slavery.

“Working with leading partners through this initiative, we aim to start to dismantle systemic injustice. Integral to its success will be the inclusion and direct engagement of people and communities of color and other marginalized communities, to learn from and amplify their voices.

“Global Innovations on Youth Violence, Safety, and Justice will bring together a unique, inclusive and cross-cutting group of Fellows, all committed to address systemic injustice and ultimately shaping a better world – and we can’t wait to start working with them.” 

For more information on this program and to find out how to become part of it, please contact: Charles E. Ehrlich, Program Director, Salzburg Global Seminar. 
 

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