The US delegation was headed by Harold Koh, Legal Adviser of the Department of State who is on leave from Yale Law School where he served as Dean from 2004 to 2009; and Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, and former Executive Director and President of Human Rights First.
The PRC delegation included members of the Supreme People’s Court and National People’s Congress, officials from the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Public Security and Supreme People’s Procurotorate, and representatives of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and All China Lawyers’ Association.
The agenda included four items, including Community Corrections which John led the discussion along with Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle. Judge Huvelle sits on the US District Court for the District of Columbia and earlier in her career served as law clerk to Chief Justice Edward F. Hennessey of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
In the discussion on Community Corrections, the PRC delegation referenced pilot projects begun in 2003 in seven locations and noted that recent national legislation to expand such programming nationally was based on the experience of those pilots. The presentation by the Ministry of Justice focused on the challenges of implementation of the law, including limited resources (staff skills and program options), agency and staff resistance to change of practice, and weak public understanding. John described his work with the community corrections pilot in the Xuhui District of Shanghai in 2004-05 and congratulated the Ministry of Justice for its work to expand community corrections nationally. He reviewed the evidence-based principles that guide CRJ’s community corrections work, both on policy initiatives and our direct service programs. Finally, there was discussion of collaborative efforts that could follow.
The other agenda items and discussion leaders included:
Role of Lawyers – Honorable Goodwin Liu, Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court; and Bill Neukom, President & CEO of The World Justice Project and former general counsel of Microsoft;
Legal Aid – Ira Belkin, Ford Foundation Program Officer stationed in Beijing working on law and rights issues, and former federal prosecutor; and Ben Liebman, Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and Director of the Center for Chinese Legal Studies.
Counterterrorism & Human Rights – Julie Fernandes, Director of the Alliance to End Slavery & Trafficking and former deputy assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice; and Sarah Cleveland, Professor in Human and Constitutional Rights and Columbia Law School and Faculty Co-Director of the Human Rights Institute.
While in Beijing, the delegation had a dinner meeting with Gary Locke, US Ambassador to China, and visited the Sunshine Halfway House of Chaoyang District.
Since his return, John has had follow-up communications with Mr. Sujun Zhang, Vice Minister in the Ministry of Justice, and Ms. Xie Yuni, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Community Corrections. We are replying to Mr. Sujun’s inquiry about our ability to train some PRC corrections officials in evidence-based research and evidence-based practice in community corrections and prison/jail management.