Center for the Study of Human Flourishing

Galsworthy Criminal Justice Reform Program

As part of the Center for the Study of Human Flourishing, this program seeks to bring together leading research, public education, and civic discourse into a multi-year campaign to raise awareness, education, and promote criminal justice reform by producing articles and monographs, holding conferences, and creating networks of those who champion criminal justice reform among current and future leaders.

Overincarceration of adults and juveniles in America undermines the well-being and flourishing families, communities, civic life, and the economy, rendering many incapable of contributing to the common good. With 2.3 million Americans behind bars, the criminal justice system is the largest it has been in American history.

For juveniles, America now criminalizes adolescent misbehavior in schools and public spaces. Public schools are increasingly criminalizing behavioral problems with misdemeanors that eventually lead to arrests. One in ten high school drop-outs is incarcerated or in juvenile detention; for African-Americans, that number is one in four. Children who do not finish high school are 3.5 times more likely to be arrested as adults.

Overcriminalization leads to mass incarceration. The scandal of today’s mass incarceration associated with the War on Drugs is the failed attempt to use the police, lawyers, judges, corrections officers, and social workers to address issues that are profoundly moral in nature. People should be sent to prison because they are dangerous to society, not because we are mad at them and want to reform them. Prisons are not churches. Without this preventative moral formation, we set the lower classes up for a lifetime–sometimes, generations–of government control.

This program seeks to develop and promote civil-society solutions that provide more effective long-term strategies that advance human flourishing without the expansion of government power.

The inaugural class of Galsworthy Fellows has been awarded two-year fellowships to advance the scholarly work on the topics of mass incarceration, overcriminalization, and criminal-justice reform.