Race and policing
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The COVID19 Policing Project is a collaborative effort to track and challenge policing and criminalization in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, including the violent policing of protest which further jeopardizes public health. This is the first in a series of reports summarizing and analyzing what we've learned, and offering visions and guidance for responding to #COVIDWithoutCops.
While there are clear benefits to strengthening relationships between police and immigrant communities, many departments may be unsure of where to start. This publication outlines a set of programmatic recommendations based on multicultural outreach programs in agencies from various geographic regions, jurisdiction sizes, and levels of available resources. The purpose of this report is to help agencies establish successful outreach and engagement programs, or to improve existing initiatives.
In the wake of high-profile incidents in Ferguson, Staten Island, North Charleston, Baltimore, and elsewhere, law enforcement agencies across the country have rapidly adopted body-worn cameras for their officers. One of the main selling points for these cameras is their potential to provide transparency into some police interactions, and to help protect civil rights, especially in heavily policed communities of color.But accountability is not automatic. Whether these cameras make police more accountable — or simply intensifies police surveillance of communities — depends on how the cameras and footage are used. That's why The Leadership Conference, together with a broad coalition of civil rights, privacy, and media rights groups, developed shared Civil Rights Principles on body-worn Cameras. Our principles emphasize that "[w]ithout carefully crafted policy safeguards in place, there is a real risk that these new devices could become instruments of injustice, rather than tools for accountability."This scorecard evaluates the body-worn camera policies currently in place in major police departments across the country. Our goal is to highlight promising approaches that some departments are taking, and to identify opportunities where departments could improve their policies.
This report, released by the Center for Popular Democracy and Urban Youth Collaborative, reveals the staggering yearly economic impact of the school-to-prison pipeline in New York City, $746.8 million. In addition, it presents a bold "Young People's School Justice Agenda," which calls on the City to divest from over-policing young people, and invest in supportive programs and opportunities for students to thrive. New evidence of the astronomical fiscal and social costs of New York's school-to-prison pipeline demand urgent action by policymakers. The young people who are most at risk of harm due to harsh policing and disciplinary policies are uniquely situated to lead the dialogue about developing truly safe and equitable learning environments. This report highlights the vision for safe, supportive, and inclusive schools developed by these youth leaders.
Our criminal justice system must keep all communities safe, foster prevention and rehabilitation, and ensure fair and equal justice. But in too many places, and in too many ways, our system is falling short of that mandate and with devastating consequences. The UnitedStates is saddled with an outdated, unfair, and bloated criminal justice system that drains resources and disrupts communities.The U.S. prison population has swelled to unprecedented levels,2 and unequal, unjustified treatment based on race and ethnicity is well documented.3 People of color, particularly Native American, African American, and Latino people, have felt the impact of discrimination within the criminal justice system. As of 2012, there were 2.2 million people incarcerated in the UnitedStates, costing our nation $80 billion—funds that could go to worthier options, such as education and community enrichment.4 In addition, many immigrants experience mandatory detention, racial profiling, and due process violations because of laws and policies that violate their human rights—and the principles of equal justice, fair treatment, and proportionality under our criminal justice system.The good news is that we as a nation are at a unique moment in which there is strong public, bipartisan support for criminal justice reform,5 positive policy developments in many parts of the country, and mass action and social movements for change, including the Movement for Black Lives and Black Lives Matter. More is needed, however, to move from positive trends to transformative, lasting change. There is a lack of positive solutions and alternatives in public discourse, and inadequate coordination among pro-reform advocates and commentators. Several interviewees for The Opportunity Agenda's Criminal Justice Report, including leadingcriminal justice and civil rights activists, scholars, and government officials, noted that they often work in silos on their discrete issues with limited collaboration among sectors. They identified a need for a more coordinated and sophisticated effort that would consolidate the gains that have been made and support sustained reform efforts going forward. This is doubly true at the intersection of criminal justice and immigration. While grassroots movements are increasingly working across these sectors, the issues are often disconnected in public discourse.
The term "predictive policing" refers to computer systems that use data to forecast where crime will happen or who will be involved. Some tools produce maps of anticipated crime "hot spots," while others score and flag people deemed most likely to be involved in crime or violence.Though these systems are rolling out in police departments nationwide, our research found pervasive, fundamental gaps in what's publicly known about them.How these tools work and make predictions, how they define and measure their performance and how police departments actually use these systems day-to-day, are all unclear. Further, vendors routinely claim that the inner working of their technology is proprietary, keeping their methods a closely-held trade secret, even from the departments themselves. And early research findings suggest that these systems may not actually make people safer — and that they may lead to even more aggressive enforcement in communities that are already heavily policed.Our study finds a number of key risks in predictive policing, and a trend of rapid, poorly informed adoption in which those risks are often not considered. We believe that conscientious application of data has the potential to improve police practices in the future. But we found little evidence that today's systems live up to their claims, and significant reason to fear that they may reinforce disproportionate and discriminatory policing practices.
The New York City Police Department's (NYPD's) aggressive stop-and-frisk practices are having a profound effect on individuals, groups and communities across the city. This report documents some of the human stories behind the staggering statistics and sheds new light on the breadth of impact this policy is having on individuals and groups, in neighborhoods, and citywide.The NYPD stop-and-frisk program affects thousands of people every day in New York City and it is widely acknowledged that an overwhelming majority of those people are Black or Latino. This report shows that many are also members of a range of other communities that are experiencing devastating impact from this program, including LGBTQ/GNC people, non-citizens, homeless people, religious minorities, low-income people, residents of certain neighborhoods and youth. Residents of some New York City neighborhoods describe a police presence so pervasive and hostile that they feel like they are living in a state of siege.