The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society: 50 Years Later

March 28, 2017

The George Washington Law Review, along with co-sponsor Senior Associate Dean Roger A. Fairfax, Jr. of the George Washington University Law School, announces its Fall 2017 Symposium, “The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society: ­50 Years Later.” This event will take place on Thursday, October 26­ and Friday, October 27 at GW Law. 

The Symposium marks the 50th anniversary of the report by President Lyndon Johnson’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice, “The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society.” Led by Attorney General Nicholas deB. Katzenbach, the Commission compiled comprehensive data on crime in the United States, discussed the salient issues confronting the criminal justice system, and provided recommendations to address these problems.  

Now, fifty years later, our American society continues to face many of the same obstacles to an effective and fair criminal justice system. At a time when there is bipartisan consensus that criminal justice reform is necessary, revisiting “The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society” will provide insights into how to address those questions. Inspired by the focus of the report, the Symposium will examine the essential issues of courts and procedure, technology, policing, corrections and sentencing, prosecution, the War on Drugs, and juvenile justice. The focus will be the future of the criminal justice system and what steps can be taken to achieve reform. This Symposium is particularly timely given the recent bipartisan legislation proposing a new National Criminal Justice Reform Commission modeled on the Johnson Commission.

The Symposium will convene leading criminal law scholars as well as prominent politicians and policymakers, including Devon Carbado of UCLA School of Law, Angela Davis of American University Washington College of Law, Carol Steiker of Harvard Law School, Brandon Garrett of the University of Virginia School of Law, Paul Marcus of William & Mary Law School, Tracey Meares of Yale Law School, Nancy Leong of University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Adam Gershowitz of William & Mary Law School, Ron Wright of Wake Forest School of Law, and Song Richardson of the University of California, Irvine School of Law.   

Please contact The George Washington Law Review at gwlr@law.gwu.edu with questions about attendance or participation.