Criminal Law and Justice

Scott Budnick: Scripting Justice

March 9, 2022  • Criminal Justice Reform Initiative

Film and television producer and justice activist Scott Budnick joins us in the second installment of CJRI‘s Scripting Justice series, to talk about how his work in justice reform, and working directly with incarcerated individuals and returned citizens, and also producing both mainstream blockbusters (eg. The Hangover) as well as justice-focused narratives (eg. Just Mercy) inform his thinking about his and Hollywood’s responsibility to portray crime and justice fairly and accurately. Budnick, from his unique position and depth of knowledge in the entertainment industry and the justice reform movement, outlines new ways that the future of entertainment content can tell stories, and create an industry workplace, that can honor and uphold justice ideals.

Scripting Justice: The Impact of Entertainment on Criminal Justice is a new series of interviews from the Aspen Institute’s Criminal Justice Reform Initiative (CJRI). The first installment featured Rashad Robinson, from Color Of Change, discussing COC’s work to change Hollywood, from the scripts that are used to hiring practices in front of and behind the camera. CJRI seeks to expand the conversation about justice reform, and the Scripting Justice series looks at different views on the impact of pop culture on today’s reform efforts. From The Wire to Orange is the New Black to the latest in the Law and Order franchise, television, film and pop culture have shaped the public’s understanding of criminal justice matters. But how have such depictions helped – or hindered – efforts to reform the justice system? Join us as our guests tackle these challenging questions.