Critical Report: U.S. Over-Policing Stresses Surveillance, Punishment


The advocacy organization Justice Policy Institute issued a report complaining of “over-policing” in the U.S., saying that although crime rates
are at their lowest in more than three decades, the arrest total declined only slightly in recent years, and the nation still spends more than $100 billion annually on police. The money funds 714,921 sworn police officers and an increasing number of militarized police units, the institute says.

The group contends that “police forces have morphed over the years from a locally funded and managed entity to protect public safety, to also serving
as a federally?funded jobs initiative, an engine for surveillance, and a militaristic special forces agency engaged in a war on drugs, gangs, and youth.” The institute maintains that federal funding and involvement have helped create large police forces that are disconnected from communities and operate in a punitive rather than preventative way resulting in more arrests, more prison, and more costs to taxpayers, among other negative effects on communities.” The group takes issue with the current style of policing, which it argues “treats entire communities as though they should be contained, surveilled, and punished.”

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