Press Release

New Dædalus Issue Reimagines Justice


CAMBRIDGE, MA — (See Dædalus online) America has the highest incarceration rate in the world. American criminal justice policies of punitive excess and unequal protection under the law have sustained racial exclusion and added to the harsh conditions of American poverty. How can police, courts, and prisons in the United States be transformed to eliminate mass incarceration and produce a new kind of community safety that strengthens social bonds and reckons with a history of racial injustice? If we could start over from square one, what might a legitimate system of justice look like?

The Winter 2022 issue of Dædalus on “Reimagining Justice: The Challenges of Violence & Punitive Excess,” guest edited by Bruce Western (Academy Member; Columbia University) and featuring authors from academia, advocacy, and the justice system, shows how violence, criminalization, and punitive excess have been shaped by the deep contours of racial inequality and poverty in America. This collection demands that we imagine a different kind of public safety that relies not on police and prisons, but on a rich community life that has eliminated racism, poverty, and their myriad accompanying social problems. Many of the solutions will lie well beyond the boundaries of the criminal justice system and public policy. Yet much of the work is already being done in communities around the country. And these efforts share, as the essays in this issue suggest, a common commitment to the values of healing, reconciliation, and human dignity.

Dædalus is an open access publication, and the full issue is available online. For questions and more information, please contact

The Winter 2022 issue of Dædalus on “Reimagining Justice: The Challenges of Violence & Punitive Excess” features the following essays:

Violence, Criminalization & Punitive Excess
Bruce Western (Academy Member; Columbia University) & Sukyi McMahon (Square One Project)

The Story of Violence in America
Kellie Carter Jackson (Wellesley College)

The Problem of State Violence
Paul Butler (Georgetown University)

Public Health Approaches to Reducing Community Gun Violence
Daniel W. Webster (Johns Hopkins University)

Seeing Guns to See Urban Violence: Racial Inequality & Neighborhood Context
David M. Hureau (University at Albany–SUNY)

Developmental & Ecological Perspective on the Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma & Violence
Micere Keels (University of Chicago)

The Effects of Violence on Communities: The Violence Matrix as a Tool for Advancing More Just Policies
Beth E. Richie (University of Illinois at Chicago)

Faces of the Aftermath of Visible & Invisible Violence & Loss: Radical Resiliency of Justice & Healing
Barbara L. Jones (Wayne State University)

The Foundational Lawlessness of the Law Itself: Racial Criminalization & the Punitive Roots of Punishment in America
Khalil Gibran Muhammad (Harvard University)

Criminal Law & Migration Control: Recent History & Future Possibilities
Jennifer M. Chacón (University of California, Berkeley)

Due Process & the Theater of Racial Degradation: The Evolving Notion of Pretrial Punishment in the Criminal Courts
Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve (Brown University; Harvard University)

Recognition, Repair & the Reconstruction of “Square One”
Geoff K. Ward (Washington University in St. Louis)

Knowing What We Want: A Decent Society, A Civilized System of Justice & A Condition of Dignity
Jonathan Simon (University of California, Berkeley)