Fr. 35.50

Parsimony and Other Radical Ideas About Justice

English · Hardback

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Groundbreaking concept: Based on a new report that caused a lot of buzz, called The Power of Parsimony. "Parsimony" is coming into the language, as in this October 2021 New York Times op-ed by Khalil Gibran Muhammad.

Prestigious Contributors: Including Matthew Desmond, Patrick Sharkey, Judge Nancy Gertner, Tracey Meares, Danielle Sered, and more.

Editor reputations: Travis and Western are among the best-known and most respected people working on American criminal justice reform (Travis was president of John Jay College of Criminal justice, among other relevant positions). Travis has been praised by Richard M. Aborn, president of the Citizens Crime Commission, as well as former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton. Every person working in the space-on both sides of the aisle-will want this book.

Institutional Support: Will be published in partnership with The Square One Project, which will help promote, as will Arnold Ventures and the MacArthur Foundation, which has funded the book.

Author sales track: Jeremy Travis' previous book, But They All Come Back, has sold 4-5000 copies, per Rowman and Littlefield's sales (publisher has since gone out of business and exact figure is not available).

About the author

Jeremy Travis is Executive Vice President for Criminal Justice at Arnold Ventures and the former president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He was director of the National Institute of Justice, clerked for Ruth Bader Ginsburg and was special counsel to the NYPD commissioner. The author of But They All Come Back, co-editor of Prisoner Reentry and Crime in America and Prisoners Once Removed, and co-author (with Bruce Western) of Parsimony and Other Radical Ideas About Justice (The New Press), he lives in New York City.

Bruce Western is the Bryce Professor of Sociology and Social Justice and director of the Justice Lab at Columbia University. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Russell Sage Foundation Fellow, and a fellow of the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study. The author of Homeward: Life in the Year After Prison and Punishment and Inequality in America and co-author (with Jeremy Travis) of Parsimony and Other Radical Ideas About Justice (The New Press), he lives in New York City.


How to envision a justice system that combines the least possible punishment with the greatest possible healing, from an all-star cast of contributors

“An extraordinary and long overdue collection offering myriad ways that we can and must completely overhaul the way we imagine as well as implement ‘justice.’”
—Heather Ann Thompson, historian and Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Blood in the Water

After decades of overpolicing and ever-more punitive criminal justice measures, the time has come for a new approach to violence and community safety. Parsimony and Other Radical Ideas About Justice brings together leading activists, legal practitioners, and researchers, many of them justice-involved, to envision a justice system that applies a less-is-more framework to achieve the goal of public safety. Grounded in a new social contract heralding safety not punishment, community power not state power, the book describes a paradigm shift where justice is provided not by police and prisons, but in healing from harm.

A distinguished cast of contributors from the Square One Project at Columbia University’s Justice Lab shows that a parsimonious approach to punishment, alongside a reckoning with racism and affirming human dignity, would fundamentally change how we respond to harm. We would encourage mercy in the face of violence, replace police with community investment, address the trauma lying at the heart of mass incarceration, reduce pre-trial incarceration, close the democracy gap between community residents and government policymakers, and eliminate youth prisons, among other significant changes to justice policy.

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