Source: (2011) Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law. 9(1):133-193.

First, more informed decisions will be better ones. That requires some deference to criminal justice experts. But encouraging such deference simultaneously requires better educating the public. "Teaching" is useless, however, unless students are attentive and open-minded. Deliberative mechanisms that engage the public with the specifics of concrete cases and compel them to engage with people outside their social sphere and ideas outside their political one help to encourage such attentiveness and open-mindedness. Indeed, such mechanisms better enable ordinary persons to draw on their own justice instincts in a more effective, informed way. Unfortunately, these mechanisms require smallgroup contact, making them hard to implement on a widespread basis. Second, any mechanism that encourages greater empathy for other groups will moderate carceral impulses. Again, such empathy requires prolonged, increased contact with members of such groups in shared tasks. Such contact is likewise hard to foster society-wide. Ultimately, therefore, reformers should encourage any empathy-promoting, accurate information-expanding, and particularly inclusive deliberative efforts in connection with criminal justice. That may lead to small victories and gradual improvement in currently harsh carceral policies. More likely, however, if the thesis suggested here is correct, more fundamental changes in America's political system to move away from raw populism toward more deliberative populism will be necessary. I can see no such changes on the horizon. Absent unexpected shocks to the political system, therefore, I see an immediate future of, at best, modest improvement in a bleak carceral justice polity. (excerpt)