Race and Policing
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This is an update to the June 16, 2020 report published by the ACLU-DC and ACLU Analytics, "Racial Disparities in Stops by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department". The original report analyzed five months of data collected pursuant to the Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results (NEAR) Act on stops conducted by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) from July 22, 2019, to December 31, 2019.This update analyzes the stops conducted by MPD between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. The 2020 stops data show that MPD continues to disproportionately stop and search Black people in the District. The stark racial disparities present in the 2019 stop data have not changed. The 2020 data, like the 2019 data, support community members' repeated assertions that MPD's stop practices unfairly over police the Black community and require serious scrutiny and structural change.
Oversight, accountability, and transparency are central to proposals for police reform - and those goals depend on releasing complete, accurate, and unbiased data about criminal justice. This Briefing Paper assesses the data we have and identifies the data we need to achieve real reform. Beyond police reform, CODE believes that historical and current data can be a critical tool to advance the cause of racial equity by mapping the status of different issues, providing use cases for data analysis, and identifying challenges to be addressed.
In 2019, New York enacted historic pretrial reforms that will result in a dramatic reduction in pretrial detention populations across the state by eliminating bail and pretrial detention for most misdemeanors and non-violentfelonies. That means, in most cases, a person's liberty will not depend on how much money they have.
Money bail continues to divide New York States' criminal legal system into two tiers: one for those who can pay, and one for those who can't. Unfortunately, this means if you can't afford to pay bail, you go to jail.
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.
Fact sheet about bail reform in New York, including how the law will affect New Yorkers, as well as the hard data illustrating the personal, economic and systemic impact of money bail and pretrial jailing on individuals, families and communities.
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.
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.
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.
This report analyzed data on all adult criminal defendants from 2010 to 2015, examining individual and neighborhood racial and ethnic disparities across multiple decision points within Miami-Dade County's criminal justice system: arrest, bond, and pretrial detention, charging and disposition, and sentencing. The analysis uncovered racial and ethnic disparities at each of these decision points. Disparities were also found at every decision point that, regardless of ethnicity, resulted in disadvantages for Black defendants and neighborhoods while resulting in advantages for White defendants and neighborhoods.
Across New York State tens of thousands of New Yorkers are held in city and county jails, not because they have been convicted of a crime, but because they cannot afford to pay for their release while awaiting trial.The harms of unaffordable cash bail are unequivocal: people lose their jobs, homes and families while detained. People also forfeit their rights to trial when pleading guilty in exchange for release. Yet little has been known about how many people across the state have been locked up because they did not have the means to pay bail, about the charges they faced or how long they were kept in jail.To better understand the impact of bail practices in New York, in 2015 the New York Civil Liberties Union sent Freedom of Information Law requests to a sample of eight small, medium and large counties across the state asking for five years of data. The information we received offers a stark glimpse into what New Yorkers have had to endure.
In the past two years, community organizers and advocates have made dramatic headway in the fight to end money bond and pretrial incarceration in Cook County. The most significant and recent victory is the introduction of General Order 18.8A by Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans, effective September 18, 2017.Following litigation and public pressure to reduce the number of people locked up in Cook County Jail only because they cannot pay a monetary bond, the order is supposed to ensure that judges do not set money bond except in amounts that people can pay. If followed, the order represents a dramatic shift away from unpaid money bond as the primary driver of pretrial incarceration and toward a new respect for the presumption of innocence in Cook County. Chicago Community Bond Fund (CCBF) and our partners in The Coalition to End Money Bond are currently working to ensure that the order is fully implemented and that no one is incarcerated in Cook County Jail solely because they cannot pay a money bond.As more people are diverted from the jail, CCBF is increasing our focus on what is happening to those individuals who previously would have been incarcerated. Through our work posting bond for people who cannot afford it themselves and observing Central Bond Court, CCBF has consistently observed conditions of pretrial release that operate as a form of pretrial punishment. Since 2015, CCBF has posted bond to free 98 people. Of these people, more than one in four were subjected to punitive pretrial conditions, including electronic monitoring, overnight or 24-hour curfews, monthly check-ins with a Pretrial Services officer, and drug testing—all after we posted their significant monetary bonds. These conditions are ordered by the court, most often by judges in bond court, and overseen by either the Pretrial Services Division or the Sheriff's Office.Under the guise of helping accused people come back to court and avoid re-arrest, pretrial conditions restrict the liberty of innocent people and even mimic the same harms as pretrial incarceration, causing loss of jobs, housing, access to medical care and putting severe strain on social support networks and family members. Pretrial conditions such as curfews actually place more severe restrictions on freedom than sentences received after conviction, such as probation, supervision, and conditional discharge. Furthermore, punitive pretrial conditions coerce people to plead guilty, undermining accused people's rights and recreating the negative impacts of incarceration in jail. These pretrial conditions violate the presumption of innocence that seeks to prevent punishment before conviction.The current punitive approach of the Pretrial Services Division plays a key role in driving this troubling trend. Over the last six months, CCBF has repeatedly seen Pretrial Services impose punitive conditions on individuals for whom CCBF has posted bond. Through their observations of Central Bond Court from August to October 2017, volunteer courtwatchers with the Coalition to End Money Bond also documented regular imposition of onerous pretrial conditions such as curfews, as well as electronic monitoring operated by the Sheriff's Office. The full extent and impact of these punishments are not transparent: Advocates and the public are unable to access the most basic information about Pretrial Service's systemic impact because it is housed under the Office of the Chief Judge and thus not subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.