From October 19 through October 22, 2020, the American Criminal Law Review, in conjunction with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Georgetown University Law Center, hosted its biannual Symposium, this year focused on sentencing reform.

The Symposium, entitled “Prison Brake: Rethinking the Sentencing Status Quo,” emerged in response to the growing consensus that the American criminal legal system is broken. Practitioners, scholars, and activists from across the ideological spectrum agree that our nation over-prosecutes, over-charges, and over-incarcerates. Mass incarceration sits at the center of an ongoing debate that intersects with systemic bias, economic disparity, and a national fixation on incarceration as the punishment of choice. 

This program was designed to expose these deficiencies and to consider practices and policies that can significantly reduce and reform imprisonment. Over four days, practitioners, academics, and impacted individuals discussed prison policy, tools for litigation and seeking justice, the perspectives of all voices in the criminal legal system, and mitigation strategies. 

The Symposium Issue (Volume 58, Issue 4) is expected to be published in Summer 2021.

Individual webcasts of each keynote speaker and panel are available with captions below:

Introductory Remarks:

Dean William Treanor, Dean and Executive Vice President, Georgetown University Law Center

Chris Adams, President, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Rethinking Prison – Lessons From Scandinavia:

Moderator: Professor Steven Chanenson, Professor of Law, Director of the Villanova Sentencing Workshop, Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law

Dr. Synøve Andersen, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo

Dr. Jordan Hyatt, Associate Professor, Department of Criminology and Justice Studies, Drexel University

Rethinking Prison – Implementing Reform at Home and Abroad

Moderator: Dr. Jordan Hyatt, Associate Professor, Department of Criminology and Justice Studies, Drexel University

Dr. Synøve Andersen, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo

Patricia Connor-Council, Unit Manager, State Correctional Institution Chester, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

Superintendent Kenneth Eason, Superintendent, State Correctional Institution Chester, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

Governor Are Hoidal, Governor, Halden Prison

Is Prison Necessary?

Moderator: Susan Marcus, Criminal Defense AttorneyLaw Firm of Susan K. Marcus LLC

sujatha baliga, Senior FellowRestorative Justice Project

Anne Oredeko, Supervising Attorney, Racial Justice Unit, Legal Aid Society

Jorge Antonio Renaud, Regional Director of Policy and Advocacy, LatinoJustice PRLDEF

5th, 6th & 8th Amendments – Innovative Constitutional Sentencing Arguments

Moderator: Professor Douglas Berman, Newton D. Baker-Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law, Director of the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

Professor William Berry III, Montague Professor of Law, The University of Mississippi School of Law

Professor Jelani Jefferson Exum, Professor of Law, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law

Professor Corinna Lain, S. D. Roberts & Sandra Moore Professor of Law, University of Richmond School of Law

Professor Michael Mannheimer, Professor of Law, Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law

Professor Megan Ryan, Associate Dean for Research, Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor, and Professor of Law, Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law

Professor John Stinneford, Professor of Law, Assistant Director, Criminal Justice Center, University of Florida Levin College of Law

Stepping-Up Implementation of the First Step Act

Moderator: Elizabeth Blackwood, Counsel & Project Director, First Step Act Resource Direct, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Davina Chen, National Sentencing Resource Counsel, Federal Public and Community Defenders

John Gleeson, Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

Mary Price, General Counsel, FAMM

Back-End Advocacy – Second Chances and Second Looks:

Moderator: Norman Reimer, Executive Director, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Professor Rachel Barkow, Vice Dean and Segal Family Professor of  Regulatory Law and Policy, Faculty Director, Center on the Administration of Criminal Law, New York University School of Law

Patricia Cummings, Supervisor, Conviction Integrity & Special Investigations Unit, District Attorney’s Office, City of Philadelphia

David Singleton, Executive Director, Attorney at Law, Ohio Justice & Policy Center

Judicial Remarks:

Chief Judge Colleen McMahon, Chief United States District Judge, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

Client Perspectives – Centering Impacted Persons in Reform:

Moderator: Shon Hopwood, Associate Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center

Joshua Boyer, Criminal Justice Reform Advocate, Prison Consultant, and Paralegal

Sekwan Merritt

Brandon Sample, Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer, Brandon Sample PLC

Enlightened Prosecutors and Reform – Re-Envisioning Justice:

Moderator: Somil Trivedi, Senior Staff Attorney, Criminal Law Reform Project, American Civil Liberties Union

District Attorney Larry Krasner, District Attorney of Philadelphia

Miriam Krinsky, Executive Director, Fair and Just Prosecution

Arthur Rizer, Director, Criminal Justice & Civil Liberties, Resident Senior Fellow, R Street Institute

Brett Tolman, Former United States Attorney for the District of Utah, Founder of the Tolman Group

The Future of Sentencing Reform – Leveling Up and Ratcheting Down:

Moderator: Professor Vida Johnson, Associate Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center

Amy Fettig, Executive Director, The Sentencing Project

Mark Holden, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Koch Industries, Inc., Retired

Professor Shon Hopwood, Associate Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center

The Death Penalty and Sentencing – Applying Lessons Learned from Capital Sentencing and the Graham-Miller Resentencing to Sentencing in All Cases:

Professor Stephen Bright, Visiting Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center

Susan Marcus, Criminal Defense Attorney, Law Firm of Susan K. Marcus LLC

Mitigation – Framing Sentencing at Every Stage:

Moderator: James Felman, Partner, Kynes, Markman & Felman, P.A.

Yasmin Cader, Founder, Cader Adams Trial Lawyers

Vivianne Guevara, Director of Social Work and Mitigation, Federal Defenders of New York in the Eastern District

Professor JaneAnne Murray, Professor of Practice, University of Minnesota Law School

Mental Illness – Misconceptions and the Multiplier Effect:

Moderator: Bonnie Hoffman, Director of Public Defense Reform and Training, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Akin Adepoju, Assistant Federal Defender, Federal Defender’s Office

Professor Deborah Denno, Arthur A. McGivney Professor of Law, Founding Director of the Neuroscience and Law Center, Fordham University School of Law

Professor E. Lea Johnston, University of Florida Research Foundation Professor, University Term Professor, Professor of Law, University of Florida Levin College of Law

Juvenile Sentencing Reform – Law, Policy and Prevention:

Moderator: Eduardo Ferrer, Visiting Professor at the Georgetown Juvenile Justice Clinic and the Policy Director of the Juvenile Justice Initiative, Georgetown University Law Center

Professor Cara Drinan, Professor of Law, The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law

Halim Flowers, Artist, Writer, Activist

Tyrone Walker, Associate and Project Director, Justice Policy Institute