Center for American Progress

RELEASE: 2020 Innovations Conference Will Showcase How To Transform and Shrink the Criminal Justice System
Press Release

RELEASE: 2020 Innovations Conference Will Showcase How To Transform and Shrink the Criminal Justice System

Washington, D.C. — With 30 partner organizations and an agenda featuring more than 20 panel sessions, the 2020 Innovations Conference begins today, giving a stage for criminal justice reform experts and advocates to discuss the promising ideas and proposals to transform and shrink the size of the criminal justice system. The three-day online event takes place on June 23–25 and is hosted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the Center for American Progress, and the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation.

Recent events of police violence and the law enforcement crackdown on protestors, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic and its severe impact on those incarcerated, make this moment a critical opportunity to expedite action to rethink the criminal justice system.

“This is the fourth year we’ve hosted this conference, and the urgency to take monumental steps to transform the justice system has never been greater,” said Ed Chung, vice president for Criminal Justice Reform at the Center for American Progress. “There is an appetite to know what works to shrink the size and footprint of the criminal justice system, and we hope this conference provides that information to the public.”

“As a country, we’re living through some very challenging yet historic times. We’re still contending with an insidious disease that disproportionately affects communities of color,” said Karol V. Mason, president of John Jay College for Criminal Justice. “We’re processing the trauma that comes with seeing Black people unjustifiably killed. And we’re witnessing peaceful protesters express their outrage at the senseless loss of Black lives. We cannot let this moment in history pass us by without making significant changes in our policies and practices.”

Among confirmed speakers are Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison; Michael K. Williams, actor and activist; Dwayne Betts, author of Felon: Poems; San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin; Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; California Attorney General Xavier Becerra; Elizabeth Hinton, assistant professor in the Department of History and the Department of African and African American Studies, Yale University; DeAnna Hoskins, president of JustLeadershipUSA; Sheena Meade, managing director of the Clean Slate Initiative; Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color of Change; Sam Sinyangwe, data scientist, Campaign Zero; and Common, musician and activist.

Sessions will include discussions around key issues to transform the criminal justice system, such as policing, community supervision, pretrial and bail reform, ending life imprisonment, improving criminal justice data, and reentry, to name a few. The 2020 Innovations Conference seeks to create opportunities for directly affected leaders, system practitioners, creative thinkers, funders, advocates, and activists to learn from each other and build partnerships to generate true and lasting change big enough to meet this moment.

The 2020 Innovations Conference is generously supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Microsoft. For a full list of sessions and presenters, please visit the 2020 Innovations Conference website; the full agenda can be found here. Join us on social media by using the hashtag #ShrinkTheSystem.

For more information, please contact Claudia Montecinos at [email protected]

An international leader in educating for justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York is a Hispanic-serving institution and a minority-serving institution offering a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to upwards of 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. John Jay is home to faculty and research centers at the forefront of researching and advancing criminal and social justice reform. In teaching, scholarship and research, the college engages the theme of justice and explores fundamental human desires for fairness, equality, and the rule of law. For more information, visit and follow @JohnJayCollege on Twitter.

The Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation is a global venture philanthropy firm supporting early stage, high impact social enterprises. We believe that with early funding and rigorous support, exceptional leaders, tackling some of society’s most complex problems, can make the world a better place.

The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”