New group at Florida State — the Project on Accountable Justice — seeks to research and reform criminal justice system

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In Florida, and across the nation, the criminal justice reform movement has a crucial need for accountability and measurable results across all areas of the justice system. Integrating evidence-based practices and performance measures into our deeply-rooted criminal justice system has remained an unresolved challenge – until now. The newly created Project on Accountable Justice (PAJ) is an independent, non-partisan organization with a mission to provide meaningful, public-interest research and education that will help to guide reforms that enlist evidence-based approaches to criminal justice in Florida.

Comprised of public policy academics from distinguished research institutions, PAJ is working to facilitate innovative research that provides options for reform throughout Florida, and the nation, that turns the tide on expensive prisons with high recidivism rates.

“PAJ is dedicated to curbing our current trajectory of expensive, outdated practices of mass incarceration and refocusing our justice system on ending victimization, turning lives around, rebuilding families and saving taxpayer dollars – all in an effort to enhance public safety,” says Deborrah Brodsky, PAJ’s director. “We have a tremendous opportunity to turn poor outcomes and difficult policies into stronger public interest models that can be used in Florida, and throughout the country.”

Through meaningful, independent, public-interest research, PAJ is committed to providing a neutral voice that can drive rational justice reform here in Florida and beyond. The framework for research focuses on the three transitional points of the justice system:

  • Narrowing the pipeline of inputs into the system via early interventions, especially through reengineering juvenile justice and pretrial services;
  • Refining rehabilitative approaches within the system by researching, demanding and expanding evidence-based decision making for programming;
  • Limiting the high rates of return to the system by respecting past victims and avoiding future victims, reducing recidivism, highlighting barriers to re-entry, enhancing community and family supports and opportunities for employment.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.