Improving Public Safety Through the Criminal Justice System

Legislatures should take steps to ensure that criminal justice officers are not rewarded for increasing the volume of prosecutions, fines, subpoenas, arrests, probation violations, and other punitive encounters with civilians. Protection should be provided for whistleblowers to report unofficial “volume-based” performance metrics and strict sanctions should be established for law enforcement agencies that enforce unofficial policies. Criminal justice policies should focus on reducing the rate of incarceration, eliminating racial discrimination, and healing communities that have been harmed by high rates of incarceration. This can be done by incorporating restorative justice practices and creating spaces for community healing.

To ensure resources are used wisely and people are held accountable for their criminal behavior, state and local leaders must have access to information on crimes, arrests and victimization. To improve data sharing, criminal justice agencies must use a unique state identification number (SID) in all systems to track a person's movement throughout the criminal justice system. Law Enforcement Leaders is a coalition group that brings together more than 200 current and former police chiefs, sheriffs, federal and state prosecutors, attorneys general and prison officials from all 50 states. As law enforcement veterans who have dedicated their lives and careers to protecting public safety at all levels of local, state, and federal government, members have tried numerous strategies and programs that reduce unnecessary incarceration while keeping their communities safe.

The New York Division of Criminal Justice Services publishes annual arrest reports on the rate of arrests of individuals for misdemeanors and felonies who are under probation or probation supervision. The president must draft an executive order to establish prosecutorial priorities and administer the federal prison system. This order should direct federal law enforcement agencies to prioritize policies and practices that reduce incarceration and prioritize community investment over imprisonment as a strategy to ensure public safety. Local governments and the judiciary should establish restorative justice programs that address community justice issues, including programs that address serious crimes.

To promote pragmatic law enforcement that supports communities, legislatures should prohibit the evaluation of police and prosecutors that focus on the numbers of arrests, prosecutions, or imprisonment rather than on increases in public safety. This website is fully or partially funded through a grant from the Office of Judicial Assistance, the Office of Justice Programs of the U. S. Department of Justice. Most of the time, state and local criminal justice agencies publish reports that summarize trends in crime, arrests, or oversight on their websites.

The real data are higher than expected due to the new training offered in the area of procedural justice and the expansion of online training on school safety and community policing to participants in the Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance (CRI-TA). Long before the pandemic, law enforcement leaders began drafting a report urging Congress, federal agencies, and the White House to carefully consider a series of strategies to promote public safety.

Luis Mersinger
Luis Mersinger

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