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Justice Reform

To build public support for justice reform, advocates need frames that help people to think differently about deterrence and punishment.

To move towards restorative, equitable approaches, justice advocates have to win not just in the courtroom, but also in the court of public opinion.

FrameWorks researchers found that appealing to the value of fairness backfires, leading the public to support uniform sentencing. But focusing on common sense changes and shared goals makes people more supportive of a range of progressive reforms—including eliminating racial disparities in the system.

Framing is part of ending mass incarceration, eliminating the use of court-imposed fines and fees, transforming the system’s approach to youth justice, responding more humanely to people with behavioral health issues, and more.

Explore these studies to learn more about how to reframe justice reform.

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Better Gun Violence Reporting: A Toolkit for Minimizing Harm

News coverage of gun violence often inadvertently perpetuates stereotypical narratives about the people and communities most impacted. Typical coverage focuses on individual episodes of gun...


Bridges from prison: a communications toolkit for making the case for jobs and relationships

This toolkit builds on the communications principles set out in Bridges from Prison: making the case for jobs and relationships. You’ll find practical tips and tools for anyone communicating...


Bridges from prison: making the case for jobs and relationships

This report, supported by Porticus, explores how the public tend to think about people in and leaving prison, and how to build understanding and support for employment opportunities and supportive...


Bridges from prison: Research methods supplement

This supplement provides detailed information on the research informing FrameWorks’ strategic brief on addressing the obstacles in public thinking and leveraging the openings about criminal...


One Half of the Story

Media coverage of adolescents focuses on the perils of the teen years - but has little to say about the possibilities that are part of adolescent development.


Amplifying Positive Frames

As we advocate for healthy adolescent development, how can we balance the way we talk about risks and opportunities in youth?


Framing Advocacy on Fines and Fees Reform

This Frame Brief offers justice reform advocates guidance on framing the issue of monetary sanctions for the public.

Frame Testing Recommendations

Reframing School Discipline: A Strategic Communications Playbook

This strategic messaging playbook offers guidance. It outlines 12 evidence-based framing strategies that communicators in the education, justice, and civil rights sectors can use to challenge...


New Narratives: Changing the Frame on Crime and Justice

The research shows that these strategies can shift and expand public thinking and yield new and more productive public conversations around criminal justice reform.


“You Only Pray that Somebody Would Step In”: Mapping the Gaps Between Expert and Public Understandings of Elder Abuse in America

Elder abuse is a topic that most people would rather not think about, but they carry assumptions nonetheless. This study maps public thinking on elder justice.


Shifting Gears on Juvenile Justice

Welcome to Shifting Gears on Juvenile Justice—a collection of framing research, recommendations, and sample communications.


Talking Juvenile Justice Reform: A FrameWorks MessageMemo

This MessageMemo highlights tested reframing strategies that build support for a restorative, developmentally appropriate approach to youth justice reform.