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This report outlines key areas of focus for public and private sector efforts to build the science of gun violence prevention with actionable findings for policy makers and practitioners over the next five years. The report was written in collaboration with an advisory panel of scientific experts and includes input from dozens of researchers in the field.Against the backdrop of a national surge of gun violence and gun purchasing during the COVID-19 pandemic, the report arrives at a moment of optimism for gun violence research efforts. Congress recently renewed $25 million in funding for those efforts, and the incoming federal administration has committed to comprehensively addressing gun violence as a public health epidemic.The renewed federal funding into gun violence research is a good start, but there is much more to learn about reducing gun deaths and injuries in the U.S. The report identifies key questions in 10 dimensions of gun violence:1) Firearm suicide 2) Community-based gun violence 3) Intimate partner violence 4) Shootings by law enforcement 5) Mass shootings 6) Unintentional shootings 7) Impacts of lawful gun ownership 8) Gun access during high-risk periods 9) Racial disparities and the criminal justice system 10) Firearm-related technology.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 2019. 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.
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.
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.
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 2020, 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.
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.
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.
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.