Police and Data Collection: Why Louisiana Needs Reform
Southern Poverty Law Center;
If Louisiana were a country, it would have the second-highest incarceration rate in the world, behind only Oklahoma. In 2017, the state Legislature enacted long-overdue sentencing reforms to reduce the number of people in prison. Though laudable and necessary, the 2017 legislation is expected to reduce Louisiana's prison population by at most 10percent. It is therefore only the first of many reforms that are needed to shrink Louisiana's bloated prisons.
Sentencing occurs at the end of the criminal justice process, after the accused individual has been apprehended and adjudicated. Policing occurs at the beginning of the process. An officer's decision of whom to stop, cite, and arrestis the gateway to the rest of the system.
Yet Louisianans know shockingly little about police activities in the state – even when compared to other parts of the criminal justice system. The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, for example, publishes quarterly updates on all prisoners placed under its jurisdiction, including their sex, race, convictions, and information about their physical and mental health.
Without better data, Louisiana will not be able to evaluate whether or how its law enforcement officers contribute to the state's astronomical incarceration rate and what reforms should be prioritized. Police will not be able to improve their performance or refute criticisms that their practices unfairly target certain groups or that misconduct persists across an entire department. And communities will remain in the dark about how public servants who are licensed to use force carry out their duties.
Amid Protests, Majorities Across Racial and Ethnic Groups Express Support for the Black Lives Matter Movement
Jun 12, 2023
Pew Research Center;
As demonstrations continue across the country to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man killed while inMinneapolis police custody, Americans see the protests both as a reaction to Floyd's death and an expression offrustration over longstanding issues. Most adults say tensions between black people and police and concerns aboutthe treatment of black people in the U.S. – in addition to anger over Floyd's death – have contributed a great dealto the protests, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. About six-in-ten U.S. adults say some people taking advantage of the situation to engage in criminal behavior has also been a major contributing factor in the protests. There are wide partisan gaps in these views.
What Police Spending Data Can (and Cannot) Explain Amid Calls to Defund the Police
Jun 09, 2023
The brutal video of police murdering George Floyd has inspired unprecedented civil action and protests against police violence. Among the many signs and chants heard around the nation and the world are calls to defund the police.
Some advocate for a complete restructuring of public safety. Others want sharp reductions in police spending with corresponding increases in other public services that support communities harmed by police violence.
An examination of government finance data can inform—but in no way settle—larger debates around policing. Government spending on police is not merely a set of numbers but, rather, the culmination of a long history of policy choices, including many rooted in persistent structural racism.
And spending is far from the only policing issue affected by structural racism. It's not even the only fiscal issue, as we saw with the excessive fines and forfeitures in Ferguson and increased purchasing of military equipment.
There are countless issues, such as punitive policing, that require reforms outside of budgeting.
But police spending reflects what communities pay in exchange for public safety—an exchange that does not keep all communities safe. At the least, spending data can help advocates and policymakers understand reforms' fiscal opportunities and parameters.
Tracking Body Camera Implementation
Body cameras are rapidly becoming the norm in communities across the country. Campaign Zero reviewed available police department body camera policies from the largest 30 cities in America to determine whether this new technology is being implemented in ways that ensure accountability and fairness while protecting communities from surveillance.
Ten Key Facts About Policing: Highlights from Our Work
Jun 05, 2023
Prison Policy Initiative;
Many of the worst features of mass incarceration — such as racial disparities in prisons — can be traced back to policing. Our research on the policies that impact justice-involved and incarcerated people therefore often intersects with policing issues. Now, at a time when police practices, budgets, and roles in society are at the center of the national conversation about criminal justice, we have compiled our key work related to policing (and our discussions of other researchers' work) in one briefing.
Mapping Police Violence
Mapping Police Violence;
Law enforcement agencies across the country have failed to provide us with even basic information about the lives they have taken. And while the recently signed Death in Custody Reporting Act mandates this data be reported, its unclear whether police departments will actually comply with this mandate and, even if they do decide to report this information, it could be several years before the data is fully collected, compiled and made public.
We cannot wait to know the true scale of police violence against our communities. And in a country where at least three people are killed by police every day, we cannot wait for police departments to provide us with these answers. The maps and charts on this site aim to provide us with the answers we need. They include information on 1,106 known police killings in 2013, 1,050 killings in 2014, 1,103 killings in 2015, 1,071 killings in 2016, 1,093 killings in 2017, 1,142 killings in 2018 and 1,098 killings in 2023. 95 percent of the killings in our database occurred while a police officer was acting in a law enforcement capacity. Importantly, these data do not include killings by vigilantes or security guards who are not off-duty police officers.
This information has been meticulously sourced from the three largest, most comprehensive and impartial crowdsourced databases on police killings in the country: FatalEncounters.org, the U.S. Police Shootings Database and KilledbyPolice.net. We've also done extensive original research to further improve the quality and completeness of the data; searching social media, obituaries, criminal records databases, police reports and other sources to identify the race of 90 percent of all victims in the database.
We believe the data represented on this site is the most comprehensive accounting of people killed by police since 2013. A recent report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics estimated approximately 1,200 people were killed by police between June, 2015 and May, 2016. Our database identified 1,106 people killed by police over this time period. While there are undoubtedly police killings that are not included in our database (namely, those that go unreported by the media), these estimates suggest that our database captures 92% of the total number of police killings that have occurred since 2013. We hope these data will be used to provide greater transparency and accountability for police departments as part of the ongoing campaign to end police violence in our communities.
Police Body Cameras: What Have We Learned Over Ten Years of Deployment?
National Police Foundation;
Rarely has a police technology been adopted as rapidly as body-worn cameras (BWCs) have in the past ten years. Thereare a host of reasons why body cameras became popular, including increasing internal accountability, enhancingtransparency, facilitating investigations of citizen complaints, as well as its uses for officer safety training.
In January of 2023, the National Police Foundation (NPF), in partnership with Arnold Ventures, co-sponsored a one-dayconference, "Police Body-Worn Cameras: What Have We Learned Over Ten Years of Deployment?" This forum explored what we have learned about body cameras— both through scientific research and law enforcement practice—in the years since their deployment, as well as considerations for future implementation. The conference featured presentations by prominent researchers in the field and discussions with police executives based on their experience with body camera programs in their agencies.
Ensuring Justice and Public Safety Federal Criminal Justice Priorities for 2023 and Beyond
Apr 15, 2023
Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime & Incarceration;
While we were finalizing the policy recommendations in this report, our country began battling an unprecedented health crisis. The coronavirus pandemic has shined a spotlight on the size of America's incarcerated and justice-involved population, illuminating both the extreme vulnerability of those held behind bars and how our prison population impacts our broader communities. This public health emergency has required politicians and those who manage our criminal justice systems to rapidly reevaluate how many of those who are incarcerated can be safely released, how police andprosecutors can best serve their communities, and how to safely reduce the size of the justice system overall.
Even before the outbreak, the United States stood at a crossroads on criminal justice reform. While some of our leaders have continued to use fear of crime to advocate for policy, many advocates, policymakers, and law enforcement officials from all parts of the country — and across the political spectrum — have realized that certain tough-on-crime policies of the 1990s and 2000s led to unintended consequences, such as the unnecessary incarceration of thousands, high rates of recidivism, and decreased confidence in law enforcement. Ultimately, these challenges risk making our communities, including our law enforcement and correctional officers, less safe.
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Apr 01, 2023
American Civil Liberties Union;
This report details marijuana arrests from 2010 to 2018 and examines racial disparities at the national, state, and county levels. The report reveals that the racist war on marijuana is far from over. More than six million arrests occurred between 2010 and 2018, and Black people are still more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people in every state, including those that have legalized marijuana. With detailed recommendations for governments and law enforcement agencies, this report provides a detailed road map for ending the War on Marijuana and ensuring legalization efforts center racial justice.
Cost and Benefits Of Body-Worn Camera Deployments
Apr 01, 2023
Police Executive Research Forum;
The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) conducted a two-pronged study to investigate the costs and benefits of BWCs in more detail. The first phase involved a nationally representative survey of law enforcement agencies to document the extent of BWC adoption, the costs of implementation, and agency policies on how BWCs are used. The second phase involved collecting information on civil lawsuits against police agencies, in order to determine whether the presence of BWCs might tend to improve the behavior of officers and community members, and thereby reduce the likelihood oflawsuits. If BWCs can result in fewer lawsuits and payouts, an investment in BWCs theoretically might "pay for itself" partially or entirely.
Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2023
Mar 24, 2023
Prison Policy Initiative;
Can it really be true that most people in jail are being held before trial? And how much of mass incarceration is a result of the war on drugs? These questions are harder to answer than you might think, because our country's systems of confinement are so fragmented. The various government agencies involved in the justice system collect a lot of critical data, but it is not designed to help policymakers or the public understand what's going on. As public support for criminal justice reform continues to build, however, it's more important than ever that we get the facts straight and understand the big picture.
This report offers some much needed clarity by piecing together this country's disparate systems of confinement. The American criminal justice system holds almost 2.3 million people in 1,833 state prisons, 110 federal prisons, 1,772 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,134 local jails, 218 immigration detention facilities, and 80 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories. This report provides a detailed look at where and why people are locked up in the U.S., and dispels some modern myths to focus attention on the real drivers of mass incarceration, including exceedingly punitive responses to even the most minor offenses.
Bars to Care: A Comparison of County Spending on Mental Health Services vs. Local Jails in 2023
Center for Community Alternatives;
On January 1st, New York's new bail reform law went into effect. This law, fought for by communities across the state, was designed to reduce the number of people and families harmed by pretrial incarceration, protect the constitutional right to the presumption of innocence, and address the criminalization of poverty and of Black and brown communities.Before the passage of bail reform, New York's fifty-seven counties outside of New York City spent $705.5 million jailing legally innocent people each year.
This system of mass pretrial incarceration coerced plea deals and destabilized individuals who were often in dire needof support, not pretrial punishment. By some estimates as many as 84% of people in New York jails had a substance use disorder or mental illness. National surveys show that 20% of people incarcerated in local jails have a "serious mental illness" like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Without bail reform, New York's local jails would have continued to function as warehouses for people failed by social services and social policy, including people struggling with mental health needs, substance use, and homelessness.
Bail reform is already working. Each day, there are 6,000 fewer people incarcerated pretrial in New York's local jails.Thousands of people can thus return to their families and receive the treatment and care they need as they await their date in court. With the state budget deadline fast approaching, this is a critical moment for New York's legislature to protect the new law from regressive changes, and instead commit to shifting resources to the services - education, healthcare, mental healthcare, and housing - that keep communities safe and thriving. To do so, we must re-examine the staggering sums counties have historically spent on jailing compared to community-based resources.
New Challenges and Promising Practices in Pretrial Release, Diversion, and Community-Based Supervision
Mar 01, 2023
Police Executive Research Forum;
This report summarizes the second national conference organized under PERF's Sheriffs Initiative, which focuses on challenges faced by sheriffs' departments across the country. Many sheriffs have been telling PERF that criminaljustice reform is becoming a major issue in their communities. Bail bond systems are being scrutinized, and more communities are exploring new approaches to pretrial release, diversion, and community-based supervision. So PERFdecided to convene a meeting on this important topic.
Bail Reform 2023
Feb 21, 2023
Brooklyn Community Bail Fund;
In 2023, 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.
Blue Solidarity: Police Unions, Race and Authoritarian Populism in North America
Jan 23, 2023
Work, Employment and Society;
With a focus on police unions in the United States and Canada, this article argues that the construction of 'blue solidarity', including through recent Blue Lives Matter campaigns, serves to repress racial justice movements that challenge police authority, acts as a counter to broader working class resistance to austerity and contributes to rising right-wing populism. Specifically, the article develops a case study analysis of Blue Lives Matter campaigns in North America to argue that police unions construct forms of 'blue solidarity' that produce divisions with other labour and social movements and contribute to a privileged status of their own members vis-a-vis the working class more generally. As part of this process, police unions support tactics that reproduce racialised 'othering' and that stigmatise and discriminate against racialised workers and communities. The article concludes by arguing that organised labour should maintain a critical distance from police unions
Reducing Youth Arrests: Prevention and Pre-Arrest Diversion
Jan 13, 2023
National Juvenile Justice Network;
We are at a moment in time when we are collectively rethinking how society treats children. A big piece of this work is harm reduction—stemming the tide of the huge numbers of youth that have been flowing into our justice systems, and the significant overrepresentation of youth of color, youth with disabilities, and LGBTQ/gender nonconforming youth.
Equally important is reorienting society's approach to view issues of youth behavior and welfare through a public health lens instead of a punitive lens—looking at how can we unlock the potential of our youth rather than focusing on locking them up. When society supports youth and provides them with resources needed for positive youth development, such as good health care, housing, education, healthy food, and nurturing relationships, we are setting them on a path for success. However, when policing is heavily concentrated in marginalized communities, leading to frequent stop andfrisks of young people, then we are sending them down a different path—one in which future contacts with police and arrests are more likely.
Bail's Set What's Next?
Jan 06, 2023
Brooklyn Community Bail Fund;
Public Access Design;
Center for Urban Pedagogy;
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.
Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board: Annual Report 2023
Jan 02, 2023
Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory (RIPA) Board;
California's Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board (Board) is pleased to release its Third Annual Report. The Board was created by the Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015 (RIPA) to shepherd data collection and provide public reports with the ultimate objective to eliminate racial and identity profiling and improve and understand diversity in law enforcement through training, education, and outreach. For the first time, the Board's report includes an analysis of the stop data collected under RIPA, which requires nearly all California law enforcement agencies to submit demographic data on all detentions and searches. This report also provides recommendations that law enforcement can incorporate to enhance their policies, procedures, and trainings on topics that intersect with bias and racial and identity profiling. This report provides the Board's recommendations for next steps for all stakeholders – advocacy groups, community members, law enforcement, and policymakers – who can collectively advance the goals of RIPA. In rendering these recommendations, the Board hopes to further carry out its mission to eliminate racial and identity profiling and improve law enforcement and community relations.
Eyes on 2023: New York Bail Reform Accountability and Implementation
Dec 19, 2023
Court Watch NYC;
Ahead of new statewide bail reform legislation taking effect on January 1, 2023, 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.
Evaluating Policing in San Diego
Campaign Zero evaluated the policing practices of San Diego Police Department (SDPD) and San Diego Sheriff's Department (SDSD).
Our results show both departments to be engaged in a pattern of discriminatory policing. Both departments stopped black people at a rate more than 2x higher than white people and were more likely to search, arrest, and use force against black people during a stop. Both departments not only use force more often but also use more severe forms of force against black people than other groups, even after controlling for arrest rates and alleged level of resistance.
We also found evidence of anti-Latinx bias, anti-LGBT bias and bias against people with disabilities in both departments' search practices.