Race and Policing
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This paper, which is a product of DCJ's Research Network on Misdemeanor Justice ("the Research Network"), examines long-term trends in lower-level enforcement across seven U.S. jurisdictions: Durham, NC; Los Angeles, CA; Louisville, KY; New York City, NY; Prince George's County; MD; Seattle, WA; and St. Louis, MO. It draws both on reports that were produced through partnerships between local researchers and criminal justice agency partners as well as updated data the Research Network has published through an interactive online dashboard. The paper analyzed cross-jurisdictional trends in enforcement, including misdemeanor arrest rates broadly, by demographics (race/age/sex), and by charge.
In this report, the Data Collaborative for Justice (DCJ) examines how New York City's enforcement rates have changed from 2003 to 2018, adding four additional years of data to update our prior report, Tracking Enforcement Rates in New York City, 2003-2014. This report builds on DCJ's prior research by (1) examining whether declines in enforcement continued in recent years, (2) situating those trends within the context of criminal justice policy over the past 30 years, and (3) examining any changes in disparities in enforcement by race/ethnicity, age, and sex. The data presented in this report serve to anchor the important, ongoing conversations surrounding fairness and equity in the criminal legal system.
Ahead of new statewide bail reform legislation taking effect on January 1, 2020, this publication from our collaborative prosecutorial accountability project, Court Watch NYC, highlights the importance of the reforms and the work left to be done, provides examples from court illustrating how prosecutors are already attempting to subvert the law, and why we'll be watching to hold them accountable in the new year.
As a follow up to our 2017 report "License & Registration Please," this report documents commercial bail bond company compliance with recently passed New York City and existing New York State laws meant to increase oversight of the predatory commercial bail bond industry.
n April 2019, New York passed legislation on bail reform to update a set of state pretrial laws that had remained largely untouched since 1971. Compared to California's Senate Bill 10, passed in August 2018, or New Jersey's Bail Reformand Speedy Trial Act, enacted in January 2017, New York's new bail law received relatively little media coverage or national press. To many interested in bail and pretrial justice, New York's reform seemed un-newsworthy as it didn't go as far as originally promised to eliminate money bail entirely.Yet the relative lack of fanfare over the passage of New York's new bail law belies its historic and transformative potential to end mass incarceration at the local level. If implemented effectively, a conservative estimate of the legislation's impact suggests that New York can expect at least a 40 percent reduction overall in the state'spretrial jail population.1 That bests the 30.4 percent reduction achieved by bail reform in New Jersey, and the anticipated impact of Senate Bill 10 in California— which is currently on hold pending a challenge by the bail bond industry—if it goes into effect in 2020.What exactly comprises New York's new bail law? What inspired this set of reforms? Can bail reform truly claim to be bold if money isn't eliminated entirely? And what precedent might New York's model of bail reform set for other jurisdictions?This primer provides historical context and an overview of the legislation itself, highlights five unique aspects of the legislation, and offers a few thoughts for how the wins in New York can inspire more comprehensive and transformative bail reform elsewhere.
The first issue-based zine from Court Watch NYC, a collaborative prosecutorial accountability project between the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, VOCAL-NY and 5 Boro Defenders. This zine features findings from over 423 hours of observing how drug cases are handled in Brooklyn and Manhattan arraignments.
The Student Safety Act (SSA) requires that the New York City Police Department publically issue quarterly reports on arrests, summonses, and other police-involved incidents in New York City public schools.i The 2017 calendar year is the second year in which the NYPD reported on activity in schools by officers outside of the School Safety Division, giving a more complete picture of the impact police have on the educational environment. iiSince 2012, the number of arrests and summonses issued by School Safety Officers (SSOs) has consistently declined. In 2017, SS0s were responsible for less than 15% of arrests and 2% of summonses. However, the vast majority of police interactions with students in school are not with the school safety officers specially trained to work with youth in schools, but with other law enforcement officials, including armed patrol officers. In addition, 366 arrests (29% of total arrests in schools) were for incidents that occured off school grounds and had no relationship to the school, indicating that police may be using schools as a place to locate and arrest young people for non-school related offenses. This practice sends the harmful message that kids in trouble should stay away from school.The School Safety Division has made a significant effort to reduce the use of summonses for non-criminal offenses. In 2017 they issued just 18 summonses, down from 1,275 in 2012. Summonses for disorderly conduct, including unreasonable noise, fighting and obscene language, are not an appropriate response to student misbehavior. However, precinct officers are not required to follow the same procedures as the School Safety Division, and officers issued nearly 900 summonses, sending children into the criminal justice system for misbehavior.Black and Latino students continue to bear the burden of arrests, summonses, and police interactions in school, and the city has failed its responsibility to reduce the racial disparities in its school safety program. Black and Latino students represent 66.9 % of the student body, but 90.2% of arrests and 89.3% of summonses in school. They also accounted for 88.4% of child-in-crisis incidents, 87.9% of juvenile reports, and 89.5% of mitigated incidents. Students of color were also more likely than white students to be handcuffed for school misbehavior, even where there is no criminal activity. Black and Latino students accounted for 92.5% of juvenile reports and 94.4% of mitigated incidents where handcuffs were used, as well as 93.4% of child-in-crisis incidents where handcuffs were used.
In August 2013, a federal judge found that the New York Police Department (NYPD) had engaged in a widespread practice of unconstitutional and racially discriminatory stops and frisks and ordered a collaborative, joint remedial process (JRP) to develop a set of reforms that will help bring the NYPD's stop-and-frisk practices into compliance with the Constitution. The judge highlighted the importance of getting this input, writing at the time, "No amount of legal or policing expertise can replace a community's understanding of the likely practical consequences of reforms in terms of both liberty and safety." The JRP ensures that communities who have been directly affected by these practices will have direct input into shaping the future of stop and frisk in New York. The JRP was envisioned to solicit ideas for additional reforms from communities most impacted by stops and frisks. In addition to community stakeholders, the process will involve the City, members of law enforcement, local elected officials, organizations with expertise in policing and criminal justice attorneys representing the plaintiffs. This process echoes a similar process successfully implemented in Cincinnati, Ohio over a decade ago to address systemic abusive and biased policing practices. Guiding this process is the court-appointed Facilitator, Hon. Ariel Belen.
This report details findings from four months of investigation of commercial bail bond industry practices and operations in New York City, highlighting the lack of the industry's compliance with state laws and regulations.
The Student Safety Act (SSA) requires that the New York City Police Department publically issue quarterly reports on arrests, summonses, and other police-involved incidents in New York City public schools. The 2016 calendar year marked the first time that the NYPD reported on activity by officers outside of the School Safety Division, giving a more complete picture of the enormous impact police have on the educational environment. Since 2012, the number of arrests and summonses issued by School Safety Officers (SSOs) has consistently declined. However, in 2016, SS0s were responsible for less than 12% of arrests and 2% of summonses. Thus, this decline in reported incidents is only a fraction of the picture. 2016 is the first year for which school-based incidents involving not only SSOs, but all NYPD personnel, were reported.
This fact sheet provides data on the effect of "stop-and-frisk" on crime in New York City, updating an earlier Brennan Center analysis. Stop-and-frisk was a police practice under which officers stopped and searched citizens, allegedly without the reasonable suspicion required for these interventions. Concerns about the program first arose under Mayor Rudy Giuliani, during William J. Bratton's first tenure as police commissioner. After growing slowly in the early 2000s, stop-and-frisk began to rapidly increase in 2006, when there were 500,000 stops citywide. By 2011 the number peaked at 685,000. It then began to fall, first to 533,000 stops in 2012. Stop-and-frisk became a central issue in the 2013 city mayoral race because of a concern that the program unconstitutionally targeted communities of color. The program's supporters disputed this, insisting that stop-and-frisk was essential for fighting crime in such a huge city. In August 2013, federal district court judge Shira Scheindlin found that stop-and-frisk was unconstitutional. The stop-and-frisk era formally drew to a close in January 2014, when newly-elected Mayor Bill de Blasio settled the litigation and ended the program. Given this large-scale effort, one might expect crime generally, and murder specifically, to increase as stops tapered off between 2012 and 2014. Instead, as shown below, the murder rate fell while the number of stops declined. In fact, the biggest fall occurred precisely when the number of stops also fell by a large amount — in 2013.
Social justice issues remain some of the most pressing problems in the United States. One aspect of social justice involves the differential treatment of demographic groups in the criminal justice system. While data consistently show that Blacks and Hispanics are often treated differently than Whites, one understudied aspect of these disparities is how police officers' assessments of suspects' size affects their decisions. Using over 3 million cases from the New York Police Department (NYPD) Stop, Question, and Frisk (SQF) Database, 2006–2013, this study is the first to explore suspects' race, perceived size, and police treatment. Results indicate that tall and heavy black and Hispanic men are at the greatest risk for frisk or search. Tall and heavy suspects are at increased risk for experiencing police force, with black and Hispanic men being more likely to experience force than white men across size categories.