Category: justice reform

Released, Now What: The Intersection of Justice Reform and Housing in Response to COVID-19

For most, the release from jail is a disorienting moment. While release symbolizes freedom, this freedom quickly becomes overwhelming for those who have to navigate their reentry delicately to achieve successful reintegration into the community. Reintegration is contingent upon an individual’s ability to secure safe and stable housing. Housing establishes the stability necessary for individuals

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City Leaders Address Justice Reform with Renewed Urgency in Face of COVID-19

As COVID-19 presents daily challenges for city leaders across the United States, there is a growing need to attend to the risk and reality of the virus spread among persons in criminal justice settings. To address this, cities continue to make adjustments that protect residents, promote public safety and encourage reform. A recent NLC meeting of Mayors’ justice policy advisors highlighted examples of the procedural and policy shifts underway in various cities including Indianapolis, Newark and Philadelphia.  Two mayors shared remarks on justice reform, public safety and COVID-19:  Mayor Ras Baraka,

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Second Circuit Rules against Cities and States in Sanctuary Jurisdictions Case

In 2006, Congress created the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (Byrne JAG) to provide “flexible” funds for state and local law enforcement programs. Last week, the Second Circuit became the first federal court of appeals to rule in favor of the Attorney General’s decision to add conditions to receiving federal Byrne JAG grants. In

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Reducing Jail Use in Birmingham, Alabama

I have advocated for many years that municipal courts are an untapped leader in developing reforms that can measurably reduce local jail populations. The jails are currently filled with citizens who quite simply would be better served without the use of confinement. In November 2017, NLC selected the City of Birmingham, Alabama as one of

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Big-Picture Lessons Learned from City Jail Reduction

When we discuss crime, public safety and the reforms needed within our systems, addressing mass incarceration and its inequities are typically considered a high priority. However, what is not always considered as critical in these discussions, is the need for strategic policy changes to address jail reduction in our local systems. Today, NLC released the

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Racial Bias in Facial Recognition Technology: What City Leaders Should Know

On July 1 the City of San Francisco effected a ban on facial recognition technology—the first of its kind in the nation.  Aimed at leading with transparency, accountability and equity, the ban passed as part of the city’s Stop Secret Surveillance Ordinance.  While the city stopped testing facial recognition technology in 2007 and has not

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Implicit Bias, Liability and Cities

We all have bias. An inescapable reality of humanity, bias is the evaluation of one group and its members relative to another and can be implicit or explicit. Implicit bias refers to the way people unconsciously and sometimes unwillingly exhibit feelings, attitudes, and judgments towards other individuals and groups. By understanding the implicit biases embedded

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How Local Leaders Can Help Our Most Vulnerable Young People

City governments and city leaders continuously grapple with the costs of the “deep end” of the juvenile justice system. Deep-end youth include the roughly 30,000 young people placed in detention facilities who may be better served in targeted community-based services in the city. Deep-end youth constitute our most vulnerable and marginalized young people. Many deep-end

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What Triage Centers Mean for Cities, First-Responders and People in Crisis

Triage centers provide a strong opportunity to bring first responders and community-based service providers together to effectively address behavioral health crises and improve quality of life across a city. City leaders across the country are prioritizing better police responses to people suffering behavioral health crises, which include mental health or substance abuse crises.  Triage centers

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