How It Works

We select the ideologically balanced jurors, they choose a policy to put on trial—in hopes of
issuing a solutions’ verdict that a vast supermajority can support.

An Ideologically Balanced Jury Picks a Topic

Gather and Evaluate Evidence

Propose Solutions, Vote, and Publish the Verdict.

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Summary of First Verdict

2017-07-04 15:36:35 sqlaps

New Approach to Political Deliberation Finds
Surprising Common Ground on Drug Policy

By Jonathan Denn founder of the GREATER Jury,
Karen Suhaka founder of LegiNation & BillTrack50,
David Kellogg former publisher Council of Foreign Relations.

A novel experiment may hold the key to helping groups of ideologically diverse individuals reach agreement on intractable public policy issues.

Called “The GREATER Jury,” the 14-week experiment convened 15 men and women representing a full range of political views to answer the question “How might we decide if the illegal drug problem is a criminal and/or health issue?”

With deliberations conducted completely via email, the jurors first decided on the public policy they wanted to put on trial. They then proposed — and voted on — the broad “instigating question.” They next were asked to pose “clarifying questions” that would inform the discussion. They then researched the questions and shared the answers with the other jurors, voting on the importance, relevance, and credibility of each. Questions focused on current best practices in treatment, relapse rates, relationships between drug use and crime, current trends in incarceration, and much more.

The jurors then proposed solutions based on what they learned from their research, and these were voted on to create a final ballot. They then voted on the ballot.

The ideologically balanced jury issued the following verdicts in descending order of agreement:

Unanimous Decision

1. Decrease chronic user demand in order to diminish the black market for drugs. Put health and community safety first by fundamentally reorienting policy priorities and resources from punitive enforcement to proven health and social interventions.

2. Push drug treatment providers towards the use of evidence-based treatment and management approaches.

3. If all best practices to help chronic users/abusers fail, then low-dose opiods should be prescribed like insulin is to diabetics to reduce crime, keep users close to medical care, and keep the demand out of the black market.

85%+ Support

4. Let states experiment with and set drug policies themselves in a search for best outcomes and practices.

5. Parole those currently in prison for non-violent and non-trafficking related drug crimes. Fund training and transitional jobs for released prisoners (to keep them from falling back into bad habits) and the correctional officers who will lose their jobs.

6. Fund new research into therapies.

75%+ Support

7. Encourage “spontaneous remission” to combat the mythology that denies the possibility of recovery without expensive professional help.

8. Stop punishing former small–time dealers and recovering drug addicts and allow them to apply for jobs after they have paid their debt to society without the stigma of revealing their convictions and incarcerations. This will help prevent them from falling back into the black market to make a living.

66% Supermajority

9. Police should be permitted to focus on their primary mission to protect public safety and order, not trying to suppress the use of drugs by constricting supply.

50%+ Support

10. The Vancouver approach of having a clinic that assists chronic users with injections but without supplying the heroin.

11.  Adopting Colorado’s legal marijuana laws.

12. Use drug law enforcement to target reducing drug crime violence as opposed to the actual use or peaceful distribution of drugs.

There is currently a second GREATER Jury experiment under way — the instigating question is “How might we reconcile protecting free speech while limiting money in politics?”

For more information contact: Jon Denn, baliff@greaterjury.us

Rules Of Court Room

2017-01-14 12:21:05 sqlaps

 Be curious and open to learning.

  • Conversation is as much about listening as it is about talking. Listen and be open to hearing all points of view. Maintain an attitude of exploration and learning.
  • Show respect and suspend judgment.
  • Human beings tend to judge one another; do your best not to. Setting judgments aside opens you up to learning from others and makes them feel respected and appreciated.
    Find common ground and appreciate differences.
  • Look for a common ground you can agree on and appreciate the differences in the beliefs and opinions of others.
    Be authentic and welcome that from others.
  • Share what’s important to you. Speak authentically from your personal experience. Be considerate of others who are doing the same.
    Be purposeful and to the point.
  • Notice if what you are conveying is or is not pertinent to the topic at hand. Be cognizant of making the same point more than once.
    Own and guide the conversation.
  • Take responsibility for the quality of your participation and that of the conversation. Be proactive in getting yourself and others back on track if needed.
    Living Room Conversations graciously gave us permission to use these guidelines to ensure our deliberations are a safe place for everyone involved to express their opinion — we can almost promise that you will have a productive, insightful conversation!

GREATER Public Policy Leadership Blog

2016-10-20 03:26:18 Bharti

Besides the weekly Jury instructions, this blog’s purpose is to be fully transparent about the GREATER Jury’s ever evolving processes. It also is a self-reflection on the challenges of public policy leadership from an entirely new perspective—

“Let’s start from where we can agree.”

Almost everyone I speak with hears the above sentence, and immediately tells me about a friend whose political views are opposite of theirs but when they have a really long, relaxed conversation—actually agree on a lot of policy changes.

Now, I have one caution here. Not only do our verdicts need to popular, but they also have to be deeply studied. Political scientists call this epistemic as well as popular.

We will endeavor to borrow from many other disciplines but at the end of the day, or trial that is, we are charting new territory. This just might be disruptive technology. Meaning the status quo might be a little less quo.

We will use mental models, be aware of cognitive biases, call out fallacies, keep within editorial style guidelines, and lean heavily on personal reflection, innovation, eliminating errors and omissions, and use approval voting.

The primary impediment to my decade’s long journey to this iteration of the GREATER Jury is that, well, policy work is boring, really boring. I mean, I love this stuff and get bored.

So, this iteration will attempt to solve this puzzle by allowing for time-shifting, more frequent shorter check-ins, a cool rating system for evidence, simple but effective rules for engagement, different ways to sort through the evidence, and a more interactive co-creative process for the ballot preparation.

I intend to make these posts short, so to close this one, if we get this correct, it can scale to any problem, anywhere, any time, by anyone. 

So, if we get something wrong along the way, or you have a suggestion, please tell us, be patient and stick with it. This could be a gigantic leap forward in public policy leadership. Thanks in no small part—to you!

Let’s start from where we can agree. And that would be—giving this a try.

Summary of Second Verdict

2017-07-04 15:43:46 sqlaps

New Approach to Political Deliberation Finds Surprising Common Ground on Campaign Finance

A novel experiment may hold the key to helping groups of ideologically diverse individuals reach agreement on intractable public policy issues.

Called “The GREATER Jury,” the 14-week experiment resulted in 13 men and women representing a full range of political views to answer the broad and purposefully vague instigating question...

“How might we reconcile protecting free speech while limiting money in politics?”

With deliberations conducted completely on a private website and email, the jurors first decided on the public policy they wanted to put on trial. They then proposed — and voted on — the broad “instigating question.” They next were asked to pose “clarifying questions” that would inform the discussion. They then researched the questions and shared the answers with the other jurors, voting on the importance, relevance, and credibility of each.

The jurors then proposed solutions based on what they learned from their research, and these were voted on to create a final ballot. They then voted on the ballot.

What sets this process apart from what is typically reported on in the news, and experienced in social media is—this is about what we CAN agree upon. The Jurors either did or didn’t “approve” of the statement.

The ideologically balanced jury issued the following verdicts in descending order of agreement:

100% UNANIMOUS

Remove as much as possible the various and vast monetary incentives from being elected to Congress

90%+ NEARLY UNANIMOUS

Politicians are spending too much time fundraising and not enough time governing

85% - 89% VAST SUPER MAJORITY

Oppose treating campaign donations the same as a secret ballot

Maximize voter exposure to the arguments for and against the candidates, encourage representatives to serve the best interest of their constituents, and prevent small numbers of individuals with access to large amounts of money from disproportionate influence.

Ban fundraising from outside the State or District

75% - 84% STRONG SUPERMAJORITY

Were opposed to removing all money regulations from donating to campaigns. Were in favor of strict transparency of campaign donations

Diminish the appearance of extortion and bribery of elected officials through campaign donations

Term Limits
Ban fundraising except when Congress isn’t in Session and only in their districts Ban fundraising during business hours while Congress is in Session

66% to 74% SUPERMAJORITY

Making Town, City, and County campaign donations transparent
Shorten the Length of the Campaign Season
No Limits on issue advertising that do not name candidates for or against Ban all donations from outside the member of Congress’ constituency Strict transparency of Super PAC money
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Are these results indicative of what society in general would agree upon if they studied this topic for 3 months? We’ll know more as this process gains statistical significance through larger jury sizes. It won’t be much longer until the Law of Large Numbers will assure reflectivity with the populace—the GREATER Jury.

The GREATER Jury is the opposite of politics. For more information contact Jon Denn at baliff@GREATERjury.us.

What is Constructive Journalism?

2017-02-13 23:01:17 sqlaps

Here's a nice piece on the difference between Solutions Journalism and Constructive Journalism. Here's a brief excerpt...

Constructive Journalism adds missing pieces to journalism by:

  • adding a solution-oriented framing of news;
  • conveying a productive perspective about the future and our ability to get there;
  • being critical but never cynical, resisting corrosive cynicism that undermines empowerment of the public;
  • asking new questions to power, so-called victims and experts, inquiring for resources, productive collaborations and solutions
  • frequent use of data sets to provide systemic overview and relevant context to complex news stories.
  • engaging and co-creating with the public

Solutions Journalism is rigorous reporting on how people are responding to problems and the associated evidence of results.

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