This article provides background information and goals for five executive sessions that began in 1998 and continue at the time of this writing (2000); they discuss the purposes and functions of sentencing and corrections, as well as their interdependence.
These sessions, which are sponsored by the U.S. Justice Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Corrections Program Office (CPO), stem from a recognition that sentencing policies developed in the "get tough" climate of corrections policy are being challenged by new concepts of sentencing purposes. In the executive sessions, practitioners and prominent scholars representing a broad cross-section of perspectives present and discuss their views on a range of issues. NIJ and CPO have released the first four papers from the sessions. They consist of an overview of the current fragmented state of sentencing and corrections, an examination of the contradictory sentencing structures that coexist, an inquiry into whether "restorative" justice initiatives can be integrated into the current system of justice, and a proposal for reforming sentencing and corrections to ensure public safety.