A Better Path Forward for Criminal Justice

A Report by the Brookings-AEI Working Group on Criminal Justice Reform

Published in: The Brookings Institution website (2021)

Posted on RAND.org on September 01, 2021

by Rashawn Ray, Brent Orrell, Shawn D. Bushway, Matthew DeMichele, Grant Duwe, John Eason, David J. Harding, Howard Henderson, Makada Henry-Nickie, Annelies Goger, et al.

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George Floyd's death at the hands of police in May 2020 and frequent events like it across America have added new urgency and momentum to the drive to reform our criminal justice system. Unfortunately, the debate has too often collapsed into an unhelpful binary: "support the blue" or "abolish the police." Either of these poles would tend to have a negative impact on the very communities that have suffered disproportionately under our current criminal justice and law enforcement policies. Excessive policing and use of force, on one hand, and less public safety and social service resources on the other, can both be detrimental to communities that are exposed to high levels of criminal activity and violence. We must find a path of genuine reform, even transformation, that fosters safer, more peaceful, and more resilient communities.

In this volume, available to be downloaded as a full PDF or to be read online as individual chapters, experts from a broad spectrum of domains and policy perspectives offer policymakers with research-grounded analysis and recommendations to support sustained, bi-partisan reforms to move the criminal justice system toward a more humane and effective footing.

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