A group of Minnesotans with a diverse range of experiences within the criminal justice system came together to found the Minnesota Justice Research Center (MNJRC) based on the collective perspectives set out below.
When measured only by the drop in the crime rate over the last 25 years, our criminal justice system seems to have made significant headway in reducing crime.
But when you look closer to learn the personal stories and listen to what the research has been telling us, a very different picture emerges, one in which the justice system looks neither sufficiently humane nor just.
Despite the fact our justice system is large and complicated, as a community we must get close enough to its workings to fully understand its impact on the lives of people and to ensure that it operates in a way that is consistent with our ideals.
To achieve this, we must subject the justice system to rigorous and regular monitoring, research, and analysis. The stakes are too high not to do so. But this alone will not be sufficient. In order to truly confront the unfairness and harshness that defines our current reality of justice, we must agree upon a shared set of values and then establish clear goals so our success in living by our values can be regularly measured.