Law Enforcement Leaders is committed to identifying and implementing solutions to simultaneously reduce crime and incarceration. Police departments and prosecutorial offices must adjust policies within our offices that over-rely on arrests and incarceration. However, as law enforcement, we are obligated to enforce the law. Therefore, there is also a need for urgent change to our laws that over-criminalize and over-punish. Within the overarching goal of reducing incarceration while reducing crime, we advocate for four specific changes.
Police officers and prosecutors often come in contact with individuals who would be better served with responses outside the criminal justice system. Often, police and prosecutors are the sole responders in these cases. Unfortunately, law enforcement usually lacks readily available alternatives beyond arrest and prosecution. Learn More
Police and prosecutors are often left to enforce overly harsh laws, resulting in too many people arrested and imprisoned for too long. The number of acts considered crimes in the United States has grown significantly since the 1970s. In other circumstances, existing criminal penalties were increased so that the punishment no longer fits the crime.
Mandatory minimum, three strikes you’re out, and truth in sentencing laws are typically overly punitive. They often impose excessively long sentences for crimes. Their consequences are felt throughout the country: the average prison stay has increased 36 percent since 1990. Learn More
Trust between law enforcement and the public is essential. Communities rely on police and prosecutors to protect them from crime and injustice. We, in turn, rely on community support and cooperation in ensuring safety. Learn More