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Criminal Justice at a Crossroads
October 18, 2017 @ 5:00 am - 1:30 pm EDT

Wednesday, October 18, 20179:00AM5:30PM EDT
Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, D.C.
The first months of the Trump administration have confirmed that criminal justice will remain a contentious issue for the foreseeable future. Trump’s “law and order” rhetoric on the campaign trail has led to significant changes in federal criminal justice policy. At the state and local levels, lawmakers are struggling with the opioid epidemic, overincarceration, and how to work with new federal enforcement goals.

In the current environment, how should legislators tackle the most serious and enduring criminal justice issues? What policies should be implemented? What should officials’ priorities be? To answer these and other questions, experts from courtrooms, universities, law enforcement agencies, and think tanks will gather at the Cato Institute for its third annual criminal justice conference, Criminal Justice at a Crossroads. We hope that you will join us.

Details and Registration

Panel 1: Law Enforcement and the Communities They Serve

  • Chief Ron Davis (ret.), East Palo Alto, California Police Department and principal consultant, 21st Century Policing Strategies LLC
  • Chief J. Thomas Manger, Montgomery County, Maryland and president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association
  • Sgt. Renée J. Mitchell, American Society of Evidence-Based Policing
  • Moderated by Jonathan Blanks, Research Associate in Cato’s Project on Criminal Justice, Cato Institute

Flash Talk

  • Hon. Steven S. Alm, Judge (ret.), First Circuit Court of Hawai’i, creator of HOPE Probation

Panel 2: The Defendant in Court

  • Hon. Jed Rakoff, Senior Judge, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • Scott Greenfield, criminal defense attorney and editor of Simple Justice
  • Suja Thomas, professor of law at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Moderated by Trevor Burrus, Research Fellow, Cato Institute

Flash Talks

  • Alyssa Rosenberg, opinion writer, Washington Post
  • Amy Bach, Executive Director and President of Measures for Justice

Panel 3: Criminal Justice and the Border

  • Dara Lind, senior reporter, Vox.com
  • Laura Donohue, professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center
  • Jay Ahern, principal and security services practice leader at The Chertoff Group and former acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • Moderated by Matthew Feeney, Policy Analyst, Cato Institute

Flash Talk

  • William R. Kelly, professor of sociology and Director of the Center for Criminology and Criminal Justice Research at the University of Texas at Austin

Panel 4: The Drug War and the Opioid Crisis: Approaches and Remedies

  • Leo Beletsky, professor, School of Law & Bouvé College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University
  • Jeffrey Miron, director of economic studies at the Cato Institute and senior lecturer on economics and director of undergraduate studies at Harvard University
  • Zachary Bolitho, Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General
  • Moderated by Mike Riggs, reporter, Reason


  • Kevin Sharp, Nashville Managing Partner, Sanford Heisler Sharp, and former Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
This Cato Conference, lunch, and reception is free of charge.
To register to attend this event, click the button below and then submit the secure web form by 9:00AM EDT on Tuesday, October 17, 2017. If you have any questions pertaining to registration, you may e-mail events@cato.org.