Academic Commons


A Call for New Criminal Justice Values

Rizer, Arthur

Who are we? Ever since we could ponder such a question, we have looked to philosophers, theologians, and scientists for answers. And yet, maybe we don't need to apprehend the heavens or dissect the atom to understand our inner nature. Maybe the answer is simpler: we are what we value.

Accordingly, this paper seeks to answer the question: what does American criminal justice reveal about what we value and who we are? I first explain why our criminal justice values are so intertwined with our identity. I then briefly discuss the historical backdrop of the current values underlying criminal justice. And finally, I provide a revised set of values and argue that they better reflect who we are today.


  • thumnail for A Call for New Criminal Justice Values_Arthur Rizer_Final.pdf A Call for New Criminal Justice Values_Arthur Rizer_Final.pdf application/pdf 162 KB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Justice Lab
The Square One Project
Executive Session on the Future of Justice Policy
Published Here
March 4, 2019
Academic Commons provides global access to research and scholarship produced at Columbia University, Barnard College, Teachers College, Union Theological Seminary and Jewish Theological Seminary. Academic Commons is managed by the Columbia University Libraries.