RESEARCH & PERSPECTIVE
Below are the resources, research, tools, and organizations that have done work in each of these areas that helps inform and support our reform recommendations, as well as, our reform recommendations in full context.
ENFORCEMENT OF OVERCRIMINALIZATION
1. Remove unnecessary laws from the books to reduce unnecessary criminalization and strengthen criminal intent standards (mens rea). This will help limit needless contact between citizens and law enforcement.
- Op-ed by John Malcolm: Over-criminalization undermines respect for legal system
- NACDL: Without Intent
2. Significantly modify current drug charging and sentencing practices/laws while simultaneously seeking evidence-based ways to limit harm from misuse or abuse of drugs. This can include expanding the use of citations in lieu of arrest, expansion of diversion and treatment programs, reducing sentencing structures and enhancements that unnecessarily and overly-criminalize individuals, particularly those with drug addiction and mental health issues.
- Fresh Lifelines for Youth, program that helps teach and engage youth regarding making good choices regarding drugs/violence, handling mental health issues and navigating the justice system
3. Empower officers to use discretion to allow for those struggling with addiction and mental health to be diverted from the criminal justice system and into treatment.
INTERNAL POLICE CULTURE
1. Ensure police union contracts do not inhibit accountability for bad actors and transparency regarding disciplinary procedures.
- Texas Public Policy Foundation, The Role of Police Unions in the 21st Century
2. Local law enforcement leaders should adopt a use of force policy that follows national best practices, honors the dignity of life, prioritizes de-escalation, and contains accountability measures for those who violate the policy. Prohibit the use of chokeholds or neck holds, except when no other less restrictive methods are available to protect lives.
- Police Executive Research Forum, PERF Guiding Principles on the Use of Force
3. Police departments should explicitly prohibit the use of informal and formal arrest quotas. Instead, develop and embrace career incentives that value community engagement.
- Policing Project, NYU Law School, Five Questions to Ensure Meaningful Engagement
4. Integrate bias-free policing principles into all aspects of work, including management, policies and procedures, job descriptions, recruitment, training, personnel evaluations, resource deployment, tactics, and accountability systems.
- Ferris State University, Jennifer Dirmeyer and Alexander Cartwright, The Role of Culture, Information, and Expectations in Police Self-Governance
- Crime and Justice Institute, How Police Departments Can Drive Positive Change Without Federal Intervention
EXTERNAL PERVERSE INCENTIVES
1. Qualified immunity shields government actors from civil liability even when they violate someone’s constitutional rights. Reforming qualified immunity is critical to holding bad actors accountable and building more trust between law enforcement and their communities.
- Institute for Justice (https://www.ij.org/issues/project-on-immunity-and-accountability/)
- Cato Institute ( https://www.unlawfulshield.com/)
2. Significantly reduce government’s reliance on revenues from fines, fees, and forfeitures and instead fund law enforcement from other revenue sources like the general fund.
- University of New Orleans, Chris Surprenant and Jason Brennan, Injustice for All: How Financial Incentives Corrupted and Can Fix the US Criminal Justice System
3. End the practice of civil asset forfeiture and only allow the forfeiture of someone’s property through the criminal justice system after a conviction.
- Chapman University, Bart Wilson, Effects of Civil Asset Forfeiture on the Prioritization of Law Enforcement Activities
4. Reform 1033 and other federal grant programs to prohibit the transfer of military-grade weapons not appropriate to domestic law enforcement functions and provide greater training, transparency, and accountability measures. Require departments that acquire such equipment to create policies for use with community input and public reporting after use.
- University of Idaho, Mapping Police Militarization Project
- University of Toledo, Olugbenga Ajilore, Militarization and Race