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U Law School Announces Inaugural Annual Conference of the Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice

February 23, 2012

“Crime and Justice in America, 1975-2025,” the Inaugural Annual Conference of the Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, will take place Thursday, April 26, in the Law School.

The conference will bring together a group of the world’s leading authorities on criminal justice policy to discuss major developments in U.S. criminal justice in recent decades, including the war on drugs, mass incarceration, gun violence, policing, offender rehabilitation, and juvenile violence. The conference will examine why policies and research have evolved as they have, what we’ve learned, and where we should be headed.

“There’s a growing consensus that America’s criminal justice policies are too expensive, too often ineffective, and in many cases inhumane,” Wippman said. “The time is right to rethink how we respond to crime, and the Robina Institute has brought together an outstanding collection of experts to offer guidance on where to go from here.”

Speakers at the conference include Philip J. Cook (Duke University), the nation’s leading authority on gun control and gun violence; Francis T. Cullen (University of Cincinnati), the top U.S. authority on criminology and correctional policy; Jeffrey Fagan (Columbia University), one of the nation’s top experts on racial profiling by the police; David P. Farrington (Cambridge University), who has done landmark research into juvenile delinquency; Daniel Nagin (Carnegie-Mellon University), who is renowned for his research on the deterrent effects of punishment; Peter Reuter (University of Maryland), one of the world’s leading drug control policy scholars; Lawrence Sherman (Cambridge University), a world-renowned expert on policing; and Franklin Zimring (University of California at Berkeley), a leading authority on adolescent offending.

“This really is an all-star lineup,” said Michael Tonry, director of the Robina Institute. “The breadth and depth of knowledge they bring about crime policy in America is unsurpassed. We’re fortunate to have attracted such a distinguished group.”

The Robina Institute, supported by a major long-term grant from the Robina Foundation, works with policy-makers, practitioners and a wide range of leading scholars to improve criminal justice systems that are widely recognized to be ineffective, overly costly, overly severe, and insufficiently attentive to the needs and interests of victims. The Institute engages in interdisciplinary, policy-oriented study of the criminal justice system.

The Minneapolis-based Robina Foundation was established by James H. Binger, a St. Paul native and 1941 graduate of the Minnesota Law School, shortly before his death in 2004. In creating the Foundation, Binger charged it to support projects with potential to transform existing institutions, policies and practices. The new Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice aims to participate in the work of creating criminal justice systems fit for the 21st century and for the citizens of a contemporary democracy.

Tonry and Antony Duff head the new institute. Tonry, who came to the Law School in 1990 and for five years also headed the Institute of Criminology at Cambridge University, is one of the world’s leading experts on criminal justice policy. Duff, who joined the Law School in 2010, is one of the world’s preeminent philosophers of criminal law and punishment.

The institute focuses on three core, interrelated program areas: criminal law theory, headed by Duff; criminal justice policy, led by Tonry; and sentencing law and practice, led by professors Richard Frase and Kevin Reitz. Projects in the three areas will be focused on documenting problems and developing practical, achievable, cost-effective solutions.

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