How Can We Reform the Criminal Justice System?

Recorded on: November 23, 2021

Hosted by: David Prescott

Guest Speaker: Faye S. Taxman

In 1967, President Johnson’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice outlined a massive set of recommendations (involving law enforcement, courts, corrections, etc.). Unfortunately, many of these recommendations were never implemented, and few actual reforms have occurred. The largest issue has been the sheer volume of traffic through the legal system (often resulting in incarceration) and the culture of control and punishment, which are largely untouched by the reform efforts. The volume can be addressed by more citations which require fines and fees – or restorative justice – for misdemeanor offenses (broken-window types of offenses). Moving from public safety approaches to public health models will also alter the reach of the justice system; this is evident in the legal system’s handling of drug- and alcohol-related issues. This webinar will provide a brief exploration of these and related issues.


Faye S. Taxman
University Professor, Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University

Faye S. Taxman, Ph.D., is a University Professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. She is a health service criminologist.  She is recognized for her work in the development of seamless systems-of-care models that link the criminal justice system with other health care and other service delivery systems and reengineering probation and parole supervision services. She has conducted experiments to examine different processes to improve treatment access and retention, to assess new models of probation supervision consistent with RNR frameworks, and to test new interventions. She has active “laboratories” with numerous agencies including Virginia Department of Corrections, Alameda County Probation Department (CA), Hidalgo County Community Corrections Department (TX), North Carolina Department of Corrections, and Delaware Department of Corrections. She developed the translational RNR Simulation Tool (www.gmuace.org/tools) to assist agencies to advance practice. Dr. Taxman has published more than 200 articles.  She is the current Principal Investigator for the National Institute on Drug Abuse ‘s Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN).  She is author of numerous books including Implementing Evidence-Based Community Corrections and Addiction Treatment (Springer, 2012 with Steven Belenko) and Handbook on Moving Corrections and Sentencing Forward: Building on the Record (with Pamela Lattimore and Beth Huebner, Routledge Press, 2020). She is co-Editor of Health & Justice. The American Society of Criminology’s Division of Sentencing and Corrections has recognized her as Distinguished Scholar twice as well as the Rita Warren and Ted Palmer Differential Intervention Treatment award.  She received the Joan McCord Award in 2017 from the Division of Experimental Criminology.  In 2018, she was appointed a Fellow of the American Society of Criminology.  In 2019, she received the lifetime achievement award from the American Society of Criminology’s Division of Sentencing and Corrections.  She has a Ph.D. from Rutgers University’s School of Criminal Justice.

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