Critical Issues: Reducing Incarceration
Reducing prison populations has become a recent topic of focus. Reducing incarceration levels is a difficult challenge that can pose significant threats to community safety so it is imperative that we proceed cautiously as this debate moves forward.
This page will serve as a clearinghouse of resources to help guide law enforcement as they are confronted with difficult questions related to reducing incarceration levels.
The following messaging worksheet breaks down the topic of mental health response, and provides key talking points and facts to assist you in your daily communications about the subject. This worksheet is exclusively available to IACP members.
Model Policies & Papers
Police Chief Articles
Partnerships in Pretrial Justice: A Law Enforcement Leader's Guide to Understanding and Engaging in Meaningful Front-End Justice System Change
As more states and local communities discuss and implement pretrial justice system changes, it is critical for law enforcement to have a voice in these conversations to ensure that policies and procedures are fair, efficient, and keep officers and communities safe. The new publication includes talking points for law enforcement, resource links, and information about evidence-based pretrial strategies, including risk assessment, citation in lieu of arrest, diversion, and enhanced pretrial release monitoring.
These online courses give an overview of the complexities of the pretrial justice system and explore risk-based solutions and pretrial partnerships that maximize public safety and support strong community-police relationships.
Citation in Lieu of Arrest (2016)
The IACP, with support from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, undertook a three-pronged assessment (literature review, nationwide survey, and focus groups) to study how police departments approach the use of citation in lieu of arrest, with a goal to provide the law enforcement community and other criminal justice stakeholders with a reference point for information about citation practices across America.
Citation in Lieu of Arrest Trifold (2016)
The IACP, with support from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, undertook a three-pronged assessment (literature review, nationwide survey, and focus groups) to study how police departments approach the use of citation in lieu of arrest. In addition to a full report, a trifold guide was developed that highlights the key findings.
Supporting Victims through Pretrial Justice Reform (2015)
The IACP Victim Services Committee identified pretrial release/detention as a decision point in the criminal justice system that could be improved to better meet the needs of victims. The intent of this briefing paper is to raise awareness and prompt informed discussion among law enforcement and other criminal justice leaders about how the pretrial justice system could be improved to be more responsive to victims.
Law Enforcement’s Leadership Role in Pretrial Justice Reform (2011)
In partnership with BJA and the Pretrial Justice Institute, IACP hosted a focus group discussion about law enforcement’s role in pretrial justice system change. The report includes an overview of the historic and current bail system and recommendations on how law enforcement can work with their justice system partners to support risk-based pretrial alternatives that enhance public and officer safety.
Safety and Justice Challenge
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has selected the IACP to serve as a strategic ally to support their Safety and Justice Challenge, an initiative aimed at reducing incarcerated populations. The IACP will support participating Challenge jurisdictions and law enforcement agencies throughout the country in identifying and developing promising law enforcement strategies for safely reducing arrests and incarceration.