Our report, “An Overview of Public Opinion and Discourse on Criminal Justice Issues,” examines the American public discourse on crime, the criminal justice system, and criminal justice reform. The report is divided into four sections.

  • Public Opinion Research: This section seeks to understand the extent and the direction of America’s changing attitudes toward the criminal justice system.
  • Media Coverage of Criminal Justice Reform: This part analyzes how mainstream media covers criminal justice reform issues.
  • Media Coverage of Racial Justice Issues: This analysis looks at the coverage of racial profiling in major U.S. newspapers, broadcast news shows, and popular news blogs.
  • Criminal Justice and Social Media: This section analyzes and explains social media content, engagement, and trends on discourse around criminal justice.

The report seeks to help reform leaders, organizations, and allies to build public support for effective solutions to criminal justice issues. It also provides useful insights for journalists, news outlets, and commentators who cover—or could cover—criminal justice.

America’s Views on Criminal Justice

Despite America’s decreasing crime rates, the country’s criminal justice system is larger than ever. The economic and social impact of incarcerating 2.3 million Americans affects many communities, homes, and families alike. Nevertheless, Americans’ views on the criminal justice system have changed, creating the environment for key stakeholders in government agencies, the president, and the legislative branch to hear advocates for criminal justice reform and enact positive changes to the system.

Moving Forward

The nation’s experiment with mass incarceration is being scrutinized and critiqued as never before, which brings criminal justice reform to the public policy agenda. Understanding today’s public discourse—how Americans think, feel, and communicate about crime—must be the foundation for bringing about this paradigm shift going forward.

Read our report and see how we can foster a shared narrative on criminal justice in America:
Full report (PDF)



Talking Points and Messaging Memos

Research and Reports 

Law and Policy Documents


Photos courtesy of longislandwins and banspy (CC BY 2.0)