Skip to content

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.

Showing 13 – 22 of 22


“It’s Hard to Wrap Your Head Around”: Mapping the Gaps Between Expert and Public Understandings of Child Maltreatment and Child Sexual Abuse in Alberta

People would rather not think about child sexual abuse - but they hold deep assumptions nonetheless. A map of public thinking helps us navigate them.


Narratives of Child Maltreatment and Child Sexual Abuse in the Canadian Media

This report analyzes Canadian media coverage of child maltreatment and examines the impacts of these narratives on the public’s understanding of this issue.


All Aboard: Explanatory Tools to Talk About Children’s Well-Being in Jacksonville

Systems thinking is hard - which makes explaining "systems of care" even harder. It helps to have a metaphor.


‘Like a Holiday Camp’: Mapping the Gaps on Criminal Justice Reform in England and Wales

This report documents differences in how experts and members of the public understand criminal justice issues.


Talking Justice Reform and Public Safety: A FrameWorks Message Memo

This MessageMemo outlines framing strategies that prompt people to rethink deterrence– and consider alternatives to punishment.


Adjusting Our Focus: Current Communication Practices and Patterns in the Criminal Justice Sector

Analyzes communications materials from influential criminal justice organizations, identifies their dominant narratives, and recommends specific shifts in framing strategies.


Framing and Facts: Necessary Synergies in Communicating about Public Safety and Criminal Justice

The data on racial disparities in the justice system is clear to advocates - but misinterpreted by the public. Values messages can help us be heard and understood.


Maze and Gears: Using Explanatory Metaphors to Increase Public Understanding of the Criminal Justice System and its Reform

How can we frame the causes and consequences of mass incarceration, and other justice reform issues, in ways that gain mainstream traction? Metaphors can help.


Strengthen Communities, Educate Children and Prevent Crime: A Communications Analysis of Peer Discourse Sessions on Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform

A Communications Analysis of Peer Discourse Sessions on Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform. Reports on small group discussions on criminal justice and juvenile justice, and recommends that...


Caning, Context and Class: Mapping the Gaps Between Expert and Public Understandings of Public Safety

For justice reform efforts to be sustained, we need ways to navigate public perceptions of crime and punishment. This study offers a map of dominant thinking.