Public Humanities Initiative

The Justice Forum: Reimagining Justice: Narratives of Inclusion

Tuesday, November 11, 2014  6:15pm The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room


Image Copyright Metropolitan Museum of Art: "Roundel with Justice"

First come, first seated

Free and open to the public


Heyman Center for the Humanities

The Center for Justice at Columbia University

How do we change the current criminal justice system, one defined by mass incarceration, a paradigm of punishment, and racial discrimination? Changing how we achieve justice through policing, courts, jails, prisons and reentry must include changing the public narrative about people who become involved with the criminal justice system. We must move away from the current narratives that pathologize people and their behavior and provides little consideration for the current and historic marginalization of low income communities and communities of color.  This immense undertaking involves examining current and historical narratives about justice, crime, safety, punishment, race, class, and gender among others. This roundtable discussion will bring together a diverse group of thinkers to examine the current prevailing narratives, as well as explore opportunities for how these narratives might be transformed towards a more inclusive framework. The roundtable will include discussants from a variety of backgrounds and experiences including psychology, journalism, history, law and those who have been directly impacted by mass incarceration and the prevailing narratives.

About The Justice Forum

Issues of mass incarceration and justice are complex and cut across many systems, structures, cultures and communities. As such, the efforts and dialogues around changing the current criminal justice system must also cross disciplines, structures, cultures and communities. The Justice Forum provides a space for leading thinkers in justice work from a variety of disciplines and experiences to collectively examine some of the most critical justice issues today. The Forum seeks to create a space for cross pollination of ideas and perspectives and contribute towards the efforts to rethink our current policies and practices in criminal justice.

For more information regarding Heyman Center Public Humanities Initiative programming, please visit:


  • Geraldine Downey

    Professor of Psychology

    Columbia University

  • Frances Negrón-Muntaner

    Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature

    Columbia University

  • Robin McGinty

    Doctoral Canidate

    CUNY Graduate Center’s Earth and Environmental Sciences (Geography)

  • Carl Hart

    Associate Professor of Psychology

    Columbia University


By Semester