Impact & Leadership

Judge Victoria Pratt on Procedural Justice: It’s Free, Saves Lives and Can Change The World

September 18, 2018

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Have you ever looked at a problem — big or small — and thought, “There’s got to be a better way”? Whether it’s an unnecessarily complex workflow in your office, or our crumbling national infrastructure, we’re all faced with countless issues that deserve focus and initiative.

Yet many of us fail to take action. Instead, we fall prey to apathy. We shrug our shoulders. We succumb to one of the most toxic, insidious and dangerous myths ever:

“Well, that’s just the way it is.”

My guest today believes differently. In fact, she’s tackling one of the most challenging and complex issues of our time. Judge Victoria Pratt has gained national and international acclaim for her commitment to reforming the criminal justice system.

She’s been called a pioneer in what’s known as procedural justice: a simple, free and proven approach to radically overhauling our court system, using the power of dignity and respect.

During her time as the Chief Judge in Newark Municipal Court in New Jersey, she focused on how justice could be delivered to court participants in a way that increased their trust in the legal system and changed their behavior.

She used creative problem solving to provide alternatives to jail for low-level offenders. For example, instead of prison sentences, she hands out introspective essay assignments. She treats each and every defendant with kindness and respect. Her courtroom has so much applause that it’s been compared to an off-Broadway show. And guess what?

It’s working.

In one of our most powerful MarieTV interviews to date, Judge Pratt explains how respect is contagious. She also details the four simple, free principles of procedural justice that can be applied in virtually any setting — your family, team, organization or community — to create similar results.

Perhaps one of the most powerful parts of this conversation is when Judge Pratt talks about how she — now a Professor at Rutgers Law School, an entrepreneur, activist, TED Speaker and legal professional who’s admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court — didn’t get into law school the first time she applied. As she says, “Failure is just an event. It is not a characteristic. People can’t be failures.” In our humble opinion, this is a must-watch, must share episode.

We need more leaders like Judge Pratt. As she explains, the principles of dignity, humanity, caring and respect can transform more than our courtrooms. These values, when put into action, can also restore our collective sanity. They can bring us together to solve the even greater issues that face us all.

Once you’ve had a chance to watch, I’d love to hear from you.

Which of the four principles of procedural justice shared by Judge Pratt resonated most? How can you put that into action today?

Leave a comment below and let us know. Remember, share as much detail as possible in your reply. Thousands of incredible souls come here each week for insight and motivation, and your story may help someone else have a meaningful breakthrough.

Important: share your thoughts and ideas directly in the comments. Links to other posts, videos, etc. will be removed.

Thank you so very much for adding your voice to this important conversation. If you have friends, clients or colleagues who’d love this message, please share this post.

With so, so much love and appreciation,


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