Call for Submissions—Criminal Justice Minimalism Symposium
The movement to transform the American penal system has yet to settle on an anchoring principle. Many argue, for instance, that the goals of the criminal justice reform movement are too modest given the scale and depth of the dysfunction in penal administration. Others find the more ambitious penal abolition movement to be short on details and insufficiently attentive to violent crime.
An emerging group of criminal law scholars suggest a third way. These scholars argue that criminal justice minimalism, taken to be a middle ground between the criminal justice reform and penal abolition movements, should serve as a guiding light by which to reshape the penal system. As a normative frame, criminal justice minimalism makes explicit the belief that society should not have more policing and punishment than is necessary. But minimalists have yet to articulate in clear terms the necessary elements of the penal system. Among the countless criminal laws and law enforcement institutions, personnel, strategies, and tactics, what goes and what stays? What does minimalist penal administration look like in a diverse and wealthy society subject to high rates of concentrated poverty and private violence? In answering these questions, the symposium considers the utility of criminal justice minimalism as an organizing tool, as well as use of the term historically and internationally. What are criminal justice minimalism’s conceptual parameters? How should the concept be applied to misdemeanor criminal administration, drug enforcement, and violent crime? Does minimalism offer a clearer direction than established normative hubs such as reform and abolition, or does it leave similar questions?
Please submit your extended abstracts (500 words or less) to WULR Chief Diversity Editor (email@example.com) by November 24th, 2023. The symposium event will be held late January 2024 at Washington University School of Law. The publication cycle for the symposium issue will start mid-February 2024 with a projected publication date in late summer.