Public Safety Performance Project should Address Domestic Violence

An open letter to leaders of the Pew Charitable Trusts Public Safety Performance Project

Dear Adam Gelb, Jake Horowitz, and Craig Prins,

Your work on rationalizing the criminal justice system seems to be missing the elephant in the room: domestic violence policies. Harshly punitive domestic violence emergency laws appear to be central to the rise of mass incarceration in the U.S. Please consider the large amount of data made freely available at

In terms of rational policy, public deliberation has performed astonishingly poorly in assessing the problem of domestic violence. The problem is not just sensational news reporting. Law review articles have frequently made absurd claims about domestic violence against women. The U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice published, with the usually disclaimer, a ninety-six page Special Report entitled Practical Implications of Current Domestic Violence Research: For Law Enforcement, Prosecutors and Judges. That report is amazing evidence of anti-men gender bigotry in doing and applying research in criminal justice policy. A rational and just criminal justice system cannot be established without honest, open analysis of these problems.

We applaud your work to improve the criminal justice system. The problems of domestic violence in criminal justice policy are daunting. But inability to address them rationally has been disastrous.


Communicating with Prisoners Collective

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