Fall 2020 Conference

In November 2020, the Minnesota Justice Research Center held a two-day virtual convening to bring together criminal justice practitioners, legal experts, scholars, advocates, and people directly impacted by the system to re-imagine a justice system that functions more effectively, humanely, and with the public’s trust.

This event was dedicated to the memory of Tom Johnson, a founder of the MNJRC and a champion for racial equity and criminal justice reform. Several guests paid tribute to Tom's legacy - watch their remarks here.

We were privileged to be joined by some of Minnesota's rising talents in poetry, music, and spoken word. Movements happen because of young people, and we were honored and inspired by their contributions.

The panel discussions, keynote speakers, and performances were recorded. Those videos can be viewed below and found on our Youtube channel.

Featured Videos

Reflections on the Justice System
Keynote address by Governor Tim Walz
"Re-imagining Justice"
Performance by Marianna Morgan-Sawyer - Member of the N4 Collective

Conference Day 1

Day 1 - Conference Opening Remarks from Andy Martins​
Global Head of Product & Editorial for Thomson Reuters Legal, and Board Chair of the Minnesota Justice Research Center
Welcome Remarks from Jacob Frey
Minneapolis Mayor
"Black Lives Matter"
Performance by Lewiee Blaze - Founder of the N4 Collective, Musical Artist, and Activist
Why Conservatives Support Re-imagining the Justice System
Keynote address by Marc Levin, Chief of Policy and Innovation for the Right on Crime Initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation
Re-imaging Bail Reform: The Ramsey County Bail Reform Project
  • Andrew Gordon - Deputy Director for Community Legal Services, the Legal Rights Center
  • Dr. Josh Page - Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Minnesota
  • Tonja Honsey - Formerly incarcerated
  • Dr. Raj Sethuraju - Associate Professor, School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice at Metropolitan State University
Re-imagining Juvenile Justice
  • Louis McCaleb - Member of N4 Collective
  • Lewiee Blaze - Founder of N4 Collective, Musical artist, Activist
  • Malaika Hankins - Restorative Facilitator, Legal Rights Center
  • Jamil Jackson - Youth Mentor, Change Equals Opportunity (C.E.O.)
Re-imagining Policing
  • Dr. Tracie Keesee - Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Justice Initiatives, Center For Policing Equity (CPE)
  • Leslie Redmond - Founder of Don’t Complain, Activate (DCA), Former President of the Minneapolis NAACP
  • Jamael Lundy - NAACP Criminal Justice Committee
  • John Harrington - Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, State of Minnesota, former State Senator
Reflections on Gov. Walz Keynote:
Re-imagining Criminal Justice - The Politics of Reform
  • Gina Evans - Community Outreach Director at Adult and Teen Challenge, Creator of “Know the Truth” addiction prevention program, MNJRC Board Member, formerly incarcerated
  • Mitch Pearlstein - Founder Emeritus, Center for the American Experiment
  • Chas Anderson - Executive Director, Opportunity for All Kids (OAK)
  • JaNae Bates - Director of Communications, ISAIAH
  • Rep. Carlos Mariani - Rep. for District 65B, Minnesota House of Representatives, Chair of Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy
Day 1 - Conference Closing Remarks from Justin Terrell​
Executive Director of the Minnesota Justice Research Center

Conference Day 2

Day 2 - Conference Welcome Remarks from Dr. Rob Stewart​
Assistant Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland and MNJRC Board Member
Welcome Remarks from Andrea Jenkins​
Minneapolis City Council Vice President
Day 2 - Conference Welcoming Tribute to Tom Johnson from Jim Rowader
Minneapolis City Attorney and MNJRC Board Member
A Tribute to Tom Johnson
  • Mark Haase - Minnesota Ombuds for Corrections, MNJRC Board Member
  • Senator Amy Klobuchar - United States Senator for Minnesota
  • Father Daniel Griffith - Pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Minneapolis, Liaison for Restorative Justice and Healing for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Wenger Family Faculty Fellow of Law at the University of St. Thomas
  • Barbara Frey - Director of the Human Rights Program in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota
“If I Could, I Would”​
Performance by Aazia Ross - Member of the N4 Collective
Re-imagining Re-entry Housing
  • Mayor Melvin Carter - Mayor of the City of Saint Paul
  • Josh Dye - President & Founder, Convene Training + Resilience Community, Marketing & Outreach Coordinator, HousingLink
  • Damontay Matthews - Formerly incarcerated
Re-imagining Policing - What the Poll Data Tell Us
  • Dr. Joshua Clark - Political Participation Analyst, Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley
  • Amber Jones - Outreach Coordinator, MN Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage, New Leaders Council Fellow
  • Angela Rose Myers Moroles - President, Minneapolis NAACP, Research Assistant to the Director of the Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice
  • Ernest Comer III - Associate Director, African American Leadership Forum
"Abandoned Fathers" & "Cause of Death"
Performance by ​Lamote Lewis - Artist and published Author
Re-imagining Re-entry - The Fight to Restore Voting Rights
  • Rep. Rena Moran - Rep. for District 65A, Minnesota House of Representatives
  • Desmond Meade - President of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC)
  • Anika Bowie - Creator, Run Like Harriet, Vice President, Minneapolis NAACP
  • Craig Coleman - Partner, Faegre Drinker, ACLU
Re-imagining Services in Prison
  • Rep. Raymond Dehn - Former Rep. for District 59B, Minnesota House of Representatives
  • Comm. Paul Schnell - Commissioner of Corrections, Minnesota Department of Corrections
  • Dr. Daniel Karpowitz - Assistant Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Corrections, author of College in Prison: Reading in an Age of Mass Incarceration
  • Mariah Wilberg - Formerly incarcerated
Re-imagining the Role of Prosecution
  • Thomas Heffelfinger - Partner, Best & Flanagan, Former U.S. Attorney, MNJRC Board Member
  • John Choi - County Attorney, Ramsey County, Former St. Paul City Attorney
  • Don Lewis - Co-founder and Shareholder, Nilan Johnson Lewis
  • Drew Evans - Superintendent, MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA)
  • Mark Osler - Professor and Robert and Marion Short Distinguished Chair in Law, University of St. Thomas School of Law
"No Vision"
Performance by Essence Blakemore - Member of the N4 Collective
Keynote and Fireside Chat
Keynote address by john a. powell, Professor of Law, Professor of African American Studies and Ethnic Studies, Robert D. Haas Chancellor's Chair in Equity and Inclusion, and Director of the Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley
Fireside chat with Sharon Sayles Belton, the Vice President of Community Relations and Government Affairs for Thomson Reuters, former mayor of Minneapolis, and MNJRC Board Member.
Day 2 - Conference Closing Remarks from Justin Terrell
Executive Director of the Minnesota Justice Research Center