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Re-Imagining Justice Conference
What is the Re-Imagining Justice Conference? 

The Re-Imagining Justice conference is the MNJRC’s annual convening that brings together a broad set of stakeholders to share, learn, and generate ideas on how to transform Minnesota’s criminal legal system through research, education, and policy. Criminal legal system practitioners, experts, scholars, advocates, and people directly impacted by the system gather for powerful conversations, workshops, and to hear leaders discuss how to re-imagine a justice system that functions more effectively, humanely, and with the public’s trust. 


MNJRC's 2023 Conference
Re-Imagining Justice: Centering Humanity Over Fear

was held on Thurs, Nov 16 - Fri Nov 17, 2023



The MNJRC's annual Re-Imagining Justice Conference is an inspirational convening of a broad diversity of criminal legal system practitioners, scholars, advocates, impacted persons, and community members. Through keynotes, plenaries, and breakout sessions, we create the space to share and learn from efforts to bring the criminal legal system closer to a true justice system.


The theme of the 2023 conference was "centering humanity over fear". We seek to address the pervasive fear rhetoric about crime and criminals and instead use our research and practice to better understand and support the humanity of all while repairing harm and holding individuals accountable to create safe communities.

The conference opened on Thursday evening, November 16th with an opening reception from 6 PM - 7 PM, with programming starting at 7 PM. Briana Payton from the Chicago Appleseed Center on Fair Courts on the Campaign for Pretrial Justice. Payton is also a member of the Coalition to End Money Bond and Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice. Through her work, she collaborates with organizers, impacted people, attorneys, and policy experts to advance pretrial justice practices, including the Pretrial Fairness Act, which made Illinois the first state in the country to end money bonds. Opening night activities took place at Plymouth Congregational Church, 1919 LaSalle Ave in Minneapolis.

On Friday, November 17th, attendees convened online for a morning of virtual programming, starting with a main stage plenary, "Centering the Humanity of Youth: Looking Across Systems to Support Young People". There were three rounds of breakout sessions with four options each time from practitioners from around the country sharing their work on Building Safe and Just Communities, Creating a Just System, and Transforming Re-Entry.

​Tickets were available for general admission, legal professionals seeking CLE credits, student-priced, and social work CEUs. Limited scholarships and group rates were available by contacting the MNJRC at Tickets were also available for the opening night reception and keynote address only at a reduced price.


Program outline:

Thursday, November 16, 6 pm - 9 pm:

  • Evening in-person opening reception and keynote speaker

    • Plymouth Congregational Church, 1919 LaSalle Ave, Minneapolis, MN  55403

Friday, November 17: 

  • 8 am - 1 pm: Online virtual programming, including keynote/plenary and 3 rounds of breakout sessions

  • Break for lunch on your own

  • 3 pm - 5 pm: In-person closing plenary and networking

    • Closing plenary at PAIKKA, followed by networking at Lake Monster Brewing​

    • 550 Vandalia St #165, St Paul, MN 55114

Check out the most up-to-date program details HERE and sign up below for general conference updates.


2023 Conference Program Details

Our conference serves as a space to begin to build bridges between community members and law enforcement, folks across the political aisle, and between activists and system actors.

Thank you to our 2023 sponsors!

Founding sponsor -----

Justice Champions -----

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Justice Advocates -----

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Justice Allies -----

Department of Corrections logo.png
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Dorsey & Whitney * Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge

Justice Supporters -----

Previous Conference Highlights

An inspirational conference-opening keynote by Florida Rights Restoration Coalition President Desmond Meade


Kyle Tran Myhre opened the MNJRC's Re-Imagining Justice conference virtual programming with his poem, "Why Do You Write Poems When Death is All Around Us."


A discussion with best-selling author Resmaa Menakem


MNJRC Board Member Sharon Sayles Belton talks with john a. powell about the importance of re-imagining justice.


MDHR Commissioner Rebecca Lucero and MBCRE Director Tiffani Daniels discuss the state of policing in Minnesota 2 1/2 years after the police murder of George Floyd


Danielle Sered shares her thoughts on the need to re-imagine justice


What exactly is “participatory research”? Find our more in this session


A session on the work to transform the legal system by bringing in those most impacted by the law


A conversation with Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison

2022 Re-Imagining Justice Conference

2023 Re-Imagining Justice Conference

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