IACP Safety and Justice Challenge
Law enforcement leaders are critical stakeholders in their local criminal justice systems, and have a powerful voice to contribute to any conversation about criminal justice system reform.
IACP is a Strategic Ally in support of the law enforcement stakeholders participating in the Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC), an initiative of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to encourage the creation of just and effective local justice systems. Jurisdictions participating in the Challenge are developing and modeling effective ways to keep people who allegedly committed low-risk offenses out of jail, including through alternatives to arrest and front-end diversion, and reintegrating those who must be confined into the community upon release, and help them stay out of jail thereafter.
For local leaders involved in the Challenge, this means a commitment to identifying the drivers of incarceration within their cities, counties, and states; engaging a diverse set of community stakeholders to create strategies that reduce their jail populations while upholding public safety and promoting equity; and building infrastructure to track the right data and measure performance over time.
Cities and counties across the country are increasingly adopting the promising co-responder model to improve how they engage with people experiencing behavioral health crises. Co-responder models vary in practice, but generally involve law enforcement and clinicians working together in response to calls for service involving a person experiencing a behavioral health crisis. The model provides law enforcement with appropriate alternatives to arrest as well as additional options to respond to non-criminal calls. Communities and local leaders can use the model to develop a crisis continuum of care that results in the reduction of harm, arrests, and use of jails and emergency departments and that promotes the development of and access to quality mental and substance use disorder treatment and services.
Law enforcement and prosecutors are on the front lines of the criminal justice system. Each day, they respond to crimes that span the spectrum from violent incidents to property and drug-related crimes to crimes of nuisance. Daily, they witness difficult and traumatic cases and have repeated and frequent contact with individuals in need of services and treatment. To best address the greatest threats to public safety and prioritize time and resources, justice system stakeholders can employ front-end diversion as a response to nonviolent, low-level crimes.
This webinar examines the offenses, arrests, and law enforcement data reported by law enforcement throughout the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, presents alternative to arrest programs that police and prosecutors are implementing in their communities, and discusses the importance of switching over to the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) where the crime reporting would be incidence based rather than summary based.
Providing treatment and behavioral health services is not part of the traditional core mission of law enforcement, but some law enforcement agencies across the nation are launching innovative PAD programs that rely on partnerships with community-based organizations to create pathways to behavioral health, housing, and other social supports, so that individuals can get the services they need. These programs are experiencing promising results: crime reduction, improved community-police relations, reduction of the treatment burden on the justice system, restored lives and families, and jurisdictional cost savings.
The nation’s opioid epidemic and a growing recognition of the impact of mental health issues are causing a shift in the way law enforcement responds to individuals suffering from addiction and mental illness. While it is not part of the core mission of law enforcement to provide treatment and behavioral health services, many are finding that by partnering with organizations that are equipped to meet these challenges, substantial strides can be made to address substance use and mental health issues within their communities.
Since announcing their Plan to End Chronic Homelessness in 2015, including a community-wide adoption of Housing First, Milwaukee County is on the verge of being the largest county in the nation to hit functional zero for chronic homelessness later this year. Part of the success is due to an innovative partnership with local law enforcement, including the Milwaukee Police Department. By implementing new pre- and post-booking strategies, to include a focus on permanent housing instead of arrests for homeless individuals, Milwaukee County has seen a dramatic reduction in criminal justice activity for the homeless population.