Summit on Alternatives to Incarceration

Hosted by Columbia University and the Aleph Institute at Columbia Law School

June 17-18, 2019


What was the Rewriting the Sentence Summit on Alternatives to Incarceration?

The Rewriting the Sentence summit highlighted a vast array of innovative alternative approaches to criminal justice currently isolated in pockets throughout the country, and brought together leaders of innovation in the field to broadcast best practices and ideas for further implementation of alternatives. 

Who participated in the summit?

The Rewriting the Sentence summit convened over 350 judges, prosecutors, defense counsel, probation and pretrial officers, individuals directly affected by incarceration, advocacy groups, and other key stakeholders in the criminal justice system to discuss the massive culture change taking place in the alternatives to incarceration arena.

What goals were achieved at the summit?

Beyond education, The Rewriting the Sentence Summit on Alternatives to Incarceration used plenary, breakout and interactive sessions to generate substantive dialogue between all delegates and identify key priorities for:

  • Expanding the use of effective alternative sentencing programs while enhancing public safety, including the mechanisms of discretion (police, prosecutorial and judicial) and legislative reforms;
  • Addressing public safety concerns over its broadened use and practical barriers to expansion and launching effective new programs in new jurisdictions, including operational limitations, program evaluation and public education;
  • NGOs that can help to support broader application of effective alternative sentencing, eg. ubiquity of access and other measures and peripheral programs to help ensure successful reentry.

Center for Fair Sentencing Announcement

Aleph formally announced the formation of the Center for Fair Sentencing, a clearinghouse which will host a digital portal on alternatives to incarceration. The Center will bind together the community of stakeholders exploring or exemplifying the best practices in alternative programs; provide data and analysis; lift up examples of programs using data-informed approaches and best practices; publish turnkey guides, such as one for establishing alternative programs; proffer policy white papers and reports; and advocate for expansion of the use of non-custodial approaches throughout all stages of the criminal legal system.

Highlights from the 2016 Summit

Acclaim for Aleph’s Prior 2016 Alternative Sentencing Key Stakeholder Summit:

  • “I thought the summit was worthwhile for any judge that sits on a criminal calendar. Each session was very thought provoking. Thank you to those at the Institute for being great hosts.”

    Hon. Mark A. Violante Chief Judge, City Court of Niagara Falls, New York
  • “Reform efforts such as those discussed at the summit can provide prosecutors and judges with greater flexibility and more tools to address the facts of individual cases, seeking to serve the twin goals of punishment and deterrence while also serving society’s compelling interest in the rehabilitation of individuals.”

    Hon. Emmet Sullivan U.S. District Judge, District of Columbia
  • “Thanks ever so much to you and your colleagues for an amazing two days of rich discussions. You covered, very effectively, an array of issues related to alternatives and sentencing reforms. Thanks again to all at Aleph. It was an amazing conference!”

    Mary Adele Greer Senior Criminal Law Advisor, ABA Rule of Law Initiative
  • “The ASKS Summit was an important step in our country’s journey towards reducing both crime and incarceration. The bipartisan nature of the event drives home that both left and right see the need to work together now to reform our criminal justice system.”

    Hon. Tim Purdon Former U.S. Attorney for the District of North Dakota

Rewriting the Sentence 2019