The US criminal justice system is seldom seen as worth emulating, particularly in its use of imprisonment. But some aspects are innovative and effective. This report looks particularly at the role of US judges in fostering innovation and engaging with the wider criminal justice system. I travelled to the USA in June 2014 to meet with and observe US judges, who exemplified these qualities.
The USA provides a different administrative and recruitment framework for judges from that of England and Wales. Few would ever want their judges to be elected in England and Wales, but it would be possible to foster greater innovation here, and greater judicial involvement with the wider criminal justice system through localising decision making and adapting judicial culture.