Thursday, July 10, 2008

Prison Reform

I met today with an independent commision that is studying how to reform the prison system in England. Created by the Howard League for Penal Reform, a 100 plus year old British charity, the commission is looking for creative ways to reduce the growing prison population in the UK. The president of the commission is Cherie Booth, a barrister and the wife of former prime minister Tony Blair. The commission is in New York to visit interesting projects and meet with American criminal justice experts. I had a particularly interesting conversation with them about how to market alternatives to incarceration to policymakers of all political stripes. Their report is not due until 2009, so we'll see what they come up with. In the meantime, a similar commission from Scotland has just released a report devoted to reforming the Scottish justice system. Scotland's report, which can be found here, includes a section on their visit to New York and several Center for Court Innovation projects.