New PCJ research looks at the many perils of being released from jail in the middle of the night, an all-too-common practice. Late at night, there is limited access to essential services and basic amenities. In most places, if there is public transportation, it does not run. Access to social services is also nonexistent. Shelters are closed to new admissions, and other social service agencies that might tend to the needs of people recently released from detention with mental health and substance use vulnerabilities are closed. Worsening the situation, jails often release people without the resources needed for safe passage, including some of the resources that people were required to submit at admission – warm clothes, money, ID, phones, etc. 

Research from Faculty and Affiliates


New PCJ research reveals large racial disparities in trust in law enforcement and a strong association between experiences of police harassment and self-reported chronic health conditions.


New essay by Premal Dharia et al. looks at the role that prosecutors play in mass incarceration—and could potentially play in ending it. Excerpted from a forthcoming anthology, Dismantling Mass Incarceration.


It’s not just the absence of crime that impacts the way youth are able to live their lives—it’s the presence of safety.


New research by Sharad Goel looks at the promise of automated reminders to reduce the negative consequences of missing a court date.


PCJ Postdoctoral Fellow Jessica Katzenstein has written a new report looking at the contemporary surveillance programs that emerged in the post-9/11 landscape.


Sandra Susan Smith explores the ways in which pretrial incarceration affects job retention, job-seeking, and relative confidence in the ability to succeed in getting a job.


Harvard Law Professor Alexandra Natapoff explains the stark inequalities between the top and bottom of the criminal justice system in a lecture to celebrate her appointment as the Lee S. Kreindler Professor of Law.


A Forum event brought together advocates and activists from three continents. Read the HKS article about the event to learn more.


Interview with Sandra Susan Smith, Katy Naples-Mitchell and Haruka Margaret Braun on their research brief on jury exclusion in Massachusetts, Inequitable and Undemocratic.


New Carr Center publication with essays by PCJ affiliates Sandra Susan Smith, Yanilda González, Frank Hartmann, Mark Moore, Khalil Gibran Muhammad & Julie Boatright Wilson.


New research by Marcella Alsan and Crystal Yang  shows that the IGNITE education program in the Flint, MI county jail reduces misconduct and recidivism. 


In Spring 2024, we explored the promise and peril of new forms of surveillance in the criminal legal system—how advances in technology may improve and/or hinder accuracy and efficiency in law enforcement; allow for reductions in physical barriers of incarceration and detention, while also enabling carceral infrastructure to seep from behind bars out into communities; and herald new discriminatory targeting, deepening or compounding existing inequities. We were joined by academics, practitioners, and impacted community members to unpack cutting-edge technological advancements in criminalization and punishment—exploring improvements to the administration of justice and the reproduction of hierarchies of control and domination. Links to event recordings and resources from each event are available on the event landing pages. Our previous  speaker series can be found on our Past Events page or our YouTube channel.

News and Commentary

Harvard Kennedy School Professor Khalil Gibran Muhammad To Leave, Join Princeton in 2025
The Harvard Crimson, July 20, 2024
Featured: Khalil Gibran Muhammad and Sandra Susan Smith

ICE detainees suffer preventable deaths − Q&A with a medical researcher about systemic failures
The Conversation, June 28, 2024
Q&A with Cara R. Muñoz Buchanan

A Plummeting Murder Rate Stuns Boston. But Can It Survive the Summer?
The New York Times, June 27, 2024
Featured: Sandra Susan Smith

Three years after police reforms, Black Bostonians report harassment and lack of trust at higher rates than other groups
HKS Policy Topic, June 26, 2024
Featured: Sandra Susan Smith

Boston continues to fail to earn the Black community’s trust
The Boston Globe, June 17, 2024
Op-Ed by Sandra Susan Smith

What is ShotSpotter? Controversial gunshot detection technology facing increasing scrutiny, May 20, 2024
Featured: Katy Naples-Mitchell

More News and Commentary

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