Criminologists Call for Policy Changes to End ‘Horrifying Violence’ by Police

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Photo by Victoria Pickering via Flickr

The nation’s leading association of criminologists called for a revived focus on policies aimed at reforming police practices—including many which it said were “eviscerated” by the Trump administration.

“The horrifying violence” exhibited in recent police use-of-force incidents around the country “reveals, yet again, the systematic and disparate impact of the criminal justice system on communities of color in the United States,” the American Society of Criminologists (ASC) said in a statement released by its executive board Tuesday.

“Research has shown that communities of color are far more likely to be exposed to the criminal justice system than native-born whites, and that certain laws and police practices have increased their relative risk of arrest and incarceration.”

Despite the calls for changes in policing strategy, including rethinking police training, “many reforms geared toward rectifying harm have yet to be implemented or were eviscerated by the Trump administration,” the board said, citing the justice department’s pullback in the use of consent decrees with police departments to encourage reform.

The ASC said it was important to develop policies “rooted in empirical research and evaluated by authoritative experts in order to be certain that they achieve their desired goals.”

The victims of the most recent incidents are part of a historical pattern, the ASC said.

“In each of these instances, the very institutions responsible for protecting the public have failed to act properly or promptly to protect citizens of color,” the statement said.

“As the Executive Board members representing the American Society of Criminology, we uniformly speak out against the disparities, the injustices, and the systematic racism that pervades our criminal justice system.

“We encourage our members to continue their hard work in studying these important issues and are committed to continuing our support of their research.

“And, more generally as a Society and as a country, we must collectively confront the daily indignities of racism. We recognize that we can – and all must – do better.”

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