Peace & Police

PEACE & POLICE is a nonviolent campaign for social change, aimed at restoring trust and respect between our communities and our police. This campaign is the work of students at Virginia Union University who are majoring in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Many of us will eventually have careers in the field of law enforcement and policing and we want the relationship between the police and our communities to be strong. This Peace & Police campaign is where we offer our thoughts and ideas about how to make this relationship the best it can be.
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Do We Need Criminal Justice Reform?

Apr 17, 2016 | by admin

Everybody has their own opinions and some may disagree, but the ACLU, Hillary Clinton, Tiffany Smith and I all believe that criminal justice reform is needed.

Do we need Criminal Justice Reform? Honestly that can be a yes or no answer for me because everybody has their own opinions. But I feel that we have been using it for the longest and it has only got worse over the time especially with all the crime that is going on nowadays. The ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project (CLRP) focuses its work on the “front end” of the criminal justice system from policing to sentencing seeking to end excessively harsh criminal justice policies that result in mass incarceration, over-criminalization, and racial injustice, and stand in the way of a fair and equal society.

By fighting for nationwide reforms to police practices, indigent defense systems, disproportionate sentencing, and government abuses of authority in the name of fighting crime, and drug policies which have failed to achieve public safety and health while putting an unprecedented number of people behind bars, CLRP is working to reverse the tide of over incarceration, protect constitutional rights, eliminate racial disparities, and increase government accountability and transparency.

Also, upon reading what Hillary Clinton’s goals are as a candidate for president, I came across some intriguing information. She believes our criminal justice system is out of balance. In her first major speech of the campaign, she said we have to come to terms with some hard truths about race and justice in America and called for an end to the “era of mass incarceration.”[ii]

Although the United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population, we have almost 25 percent of the total prison population. A significant percentage of the more than 2 million Americans incarcerated today are nonviolent offenders. African American men are far more likely to be stopped and searched by police, charged with crimes, and sentenced to longer prison terms than white men found guilty of the same offenses.

Clinton also said that, to successfully reform our criminal justice system, we must work to strengthen the bonds of trust between our communities and our police, end the era of mass incarceration, and ensure a successful transition of individuals from prison to home. One of the goals she has when she is elected to office is to work to strengthen bonds of trust between communities and police. Another is effective policing and constitutional policing which go hand-in-hand and we can and must do both.

She wants to make new investments to support state-of-the-art law enforcement training programs at every level on issues such as implicit bias, use of force, de-escalation, community policing and problem solving, alternatives to incarceration, crisis intervention, and officer safety and wellness. She wants to strengthen the U.S. Department of Justice’s pattern or practice unit by increasing resources, working to secure subpoena power, and improving data collection for pattern or practice investigations.

Sources: https://www.socialworkers.org/ldf/lawnotes/juvenile.asp and https://www.brennancenter.org/issues/ending-mass-incarceration

ACLU.org at https://www.aclu.org/issues/criminal-law-reform

[ii] HillaryClinton.com at https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/criminal-justice-reform/