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Again and again the data show that people of color in the U.S. are disproportionately, and systematically, stopped, frisked, arrested, and exposed to the use of force by police. Police departments and communities across the U.S. are struggling with these realities and with what has become a glaring divide in how Americans experience and relate to policing. This special collection includes research from nonprofits, foundations, and university based research centers, who have not only described and documented the issue but who also provide much-needed recommendations for addressing this chronic and tragic problem.

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Still Not Free When They Come Home, a Community Report: How Wisconsin's Criminal Legal System Harms Democracy and the Black Community on Milwaukee's North Side

October 16, 2023

During the first half of 2023, Black Leaders Organizing Communities (BLOC), a Black-led community-based organization in Milwaukee, and the Center for Popular Democracy conducted a participatory action research project where six of BLOC's member leaders from the North Side of Milwaukee interviewed their family members, neighbors, and other residents of the community about how policing and incarceration impacted their community's ability to participate in our democracy.Community members living on the northside of Milwaukee, where a large share of Wisconsin's Black residents live, have long experienced racism and state violence, criminalization and incarceration, poverty, and disenfranchisement (having their rights, especially voting rights, taken away). The community also has a long history of civic and political involvement—from civil rights era demonstrations against racial segregation to more recent protests against police violence. Today, its residents are among the most incarcerated in the US—and people often describe one of its zip codes, 53206, as among the most incarcerated zip codes in the country. This horrible status is the result of deeply entrenched historic and ongoing racial segregation, economic exclusion, and targeted policing that have torn at the fabric of North Side families and community fordecades.Drawing from interviews with community members, the BLOC researchers' long-term observations from their community, and their own and their family members' personal experiences, this report discusses the impact of Wisconsin's criminal legal system on the Black community on the northside of Milwaukee.

Re-imagining Public Safety: Prevent Harm and Lead with the Truth

November 26, 2019

This report is a joint effort between the Center for Policing Equity and the Yale Justice Collaboratory. The goal is to highlight the policies that science and experience say have the best chance to make the most progress towards producing public safety systems that are both effective and align with our values. This is not an exhaustive list. But it does represent the policies we believe should lead the charge towards re-imagining public safety.

Defunding, Abolition, & Alternatives to Policing

Data-driven Policing: The Hardwiring of Discriminatory Policing Practices Across Europe

November 19, 2019

Law enforcement agencies present technology as 'race' neutral, independent of bias, and objective in their endeavour to prevent crime and offending behaviour. Such claims overlook the overwhelming evidence of discriminatory policing against racialised minority and migrant communities across Europe. For people of African, Arab, Asian and Roma descent, alongside religious minority communities, encounters with law enforcement agencies of many European countries are higher than for majority white populations. Whether in interactions with the police or numbers in prisons, European criminal justice systems are policing minority groups according to myths and stereotypes about the level of 'risk' they pose, rather than their behaviour. This report explains the potential effects of the increased use of data-driven technologies for minority groups and communities. It combines our collective understanding of criminological processes of criminalisation with information about the incursion of new technologies into contemporary policing. There is an urgency to consider the potential (mis)uses of data-driven police technologies for racialised minority groups. At present, we face (public and private) organisational silences that conceal technology from public scrutiny and accountability. This is further complicated through ongoing debates concerning the reliability, validity and/or ethics of data use upon which much of these new tools are based.

Impact of the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice on Police Administrative Outcomes

August 8, 2019

This report examines the degree to which activities associated with the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice – a six-city effort to promote more equitable, just, and respectful policing practices and improve relationships and trust between law enforcement and community members – yielded their intended impacts on crime rates, departmental practices, and police-community interactions. Analyses of administrative data indicated that the impacts of the interventions varied considerably by site – as did the availability and richness of sites' data. Changes in calls for service, violent crimes, and property crimes were mixed across sites. Two of the cities observed deceases in the amount of use of force incidents, but there was no reduction in the racial disparity of those events. While rates of pedestrian and traffic stops generally declined after the start of the National Initiative's primary activities, they ultimately returned to previous levels. In addition, arrest rates declined across sites, but no differences emerged in arrest rates by racial or ethnic characteristics. Site-specific findings and their association with National Initiative activities are discussed in detail.

Minneapolis 2018 Interim Status Report

December 1, 2018

Minneapolis, Minnesota is one of six pilot sites for the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice ( NI), a project designed to improve relationships and increase trust between communities and the criminal justice system, while also advancing public understanding of the issues contributing to those relationships. In collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice, the National Initiative is coordinated by the National Network for Safe Communities at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, in partnership with the Justice Collaboratory at Yale Law School, the Center for Policing Equity at John Jay College and UCLA, and the Urban Institute.

Money for Communities, Not Cages: The Case for Reducing the Cook County Sheriff’s Jail Budget

October 23, 2018

In 2013, more than 10,000 people were incarcerated in Cook County Jail on any given day, and the Cook County Sheriff's Department had a budget of $445 million dollars. On October 21, 2018, there were 6,095 people in Cook County Jail and another 2,180 people in custody on Electronic Monitoring. Despite this massive 44% decrease in the number of people incarcerated in the jail between 2013 and 2018, the Sheriff's Budget grew 28% over that same five year period—reaching a whopping $588 million in 2018.This historic decline in the number of people in Cook County Jail, the result of successful pretrial justice reforms, should coincide with a similar decrease in the Sheriff 's budget. Instead of being reallocated within the Sheriff's budget, these funds should be redirected to services benefitting Cook County's most marginalized residents. These residents overwhelmingly live in the very same Black and Brown communities most harmed by Cook County Jail and our broken pretrial system.Cook County is already spending tens of millions of dollars each year specifically targeting these neighborhoods; that money is being allocated to surveillance, policing, and incarceration. Righting the wrongs of this unjust system must include taking the funds previously used to incarcerate Cook County's most marginalized communities and channeling them towards resources that actually strengthen those communities. Spending on Cook County Jail is fundamentally regressive, whereas investment in lower-cost community services allows us to address the root causes of the social problems so often cited to justify bloated budgets for incarceration. Cook County residents need access to mental health treatment in the community, stable housing, effective educational opportunities, and jobs that can support a family. The declining number of people in jail shows that Cook County is ready to take the next step in ending mass incarceration. By re-allocating money from reactionary corrections programs to proactive and preventative community services, Cook County can begin to effectively invest in the communities and people previously neglected and criminalized.

Police Use of Force Policy Analysis

September 20, 2016

Recognizing that systemic change can only be achieved through comprehensive action, Campaign Zero proposes ten categories of policy solutions to end police violence in America. Among these, the policies that govern how and when officers are allowed to use force against civilians requires immediate attention and intervention. The police killed over 600 people in America in the first seven months of 2016, enabled and protected by laws and policies that allow police to use force, both deadly and otherwise, with little to no accountability.Police violence is distributed disproportionally, with black people being 3x more likely to be killed by police than their white counterparts. This violence, in practice, is justified by legal and administrative policies that govern how and when police can use force against civilians. In theory, police departments establish rules regarding the use of force,which include the expectation and power to discipline officers who fail to uphold the department's standards.Instead, many police departments fail to establish common sense restrictions on police use of force – including deadly force – that would actually benefit the communities they are supposed to protect and serve. According to our findings, fundamentally changing use of force polices can dramatically reduce the number of people killed by police in America.

Policing 2016 To Deliver Safety, Police Need Legitimacy and Accountability

November 11, 2015

Much of the national debate on policing in 2015 has rested on a false premise—that community demands for greater police accountability come at the expense of effectively addressing crime. In fact, police need accountability and legitimacy in the communities they serve if they are to deliver safety. While policing is a local governmental function, federal policymakers have an important role to play in helping policing practice reflect this truth. The next president will have a wide range of funding, agenda setting, and enforcement tools that can elevate and spread the best in policing and compel reform where necessary.

Forward through Ferguson: A Path Toward Racial Equity

October 14, 2015

First and foremost, this is the "people's report." What do we mean by that? Our primary audience for this report is the people of the St. Louis region. The report is directed to the average citizens whose daily lives are affected by the issues we explored, and whose lives will be impacted by the calls to action we make. With that in mind, we have written this report to speak to an audience of average citizens— not lawyers, legislators, academics, politicians, or policy wonks. We've written this report in plain language as much as possible. We've avoided jargon when we could, and tried to explain the jargon we used when we couldn't avoid it. Our goal is to present this important information in a way that anyone can understand. We recognize and have heard citizen feedback that official documents produced by commissions like ours can be written in a way that is hard for the average citizen to understand, and a chore to read.     It will take the application of public pressure to ensure that we push forward, and not just ease back into the status quo. We have tried to make this report readable and interesting. If it's interesting and easy to read, you're more likely to read more of it—and we want you to read it. The more this report is read, the stronger the actions toward implementation will be. If we hide important ideas behind stuffy language, or bury key information, we would be disrespectful to the people who invested their time and energy into the work, and worse, we would be diminishing the importance of what we were charged to do. That said, as you go deeper into the report platform, you may notice that the information does get more dense and complicated. While our focus is on speaking to the people, we also know that this platform must be detailed and specific enough to be useful in directly impacting policy decisions. We have tried to keep these sections clear and readable, while meeting the needs of multiple audiences

Reform Strategies