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Ensuring Justice and Public Safety

Summary: The latest proposals from the Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration urge changes in laws and practice to reduce unnecessary incarceration, improve community-police relations, and promote public safety.

Published: April 15, 2020

Exec­ut­ive Summary

The coronavirus pandemic has shined a spot­light on the size of Amer­ica’s incar­cer­ated and justice-involved popu­la­tion, illu­min­at­ing both the extreme vulner­ab­il­ity of those held behind bars and how our prison popu­la­tion impacts our broader communit­ies.

Long before the pandemic, Law Enforce­ment Lead­ers began putting together a report urging Congress, federal agen­cies, and the White House to care­fully consider a range of strategies to promote public safety. A project of the Bren­nan Center’s Justice Program, Law Enforce­ment Lead­ers is a coali­tion group that unites over 200 current and former police chiefs, sher­iffs, federal and state prosec­utors, attor­neys general, and correc­tional offi­cials from all 50 states.

The group urges changes to laws and prac­tices to more effect­ively fight crime while redu­cing unne­ces­sary incar­cer­a­tion.

As law enforce­ment veter­ans who have dedic­ated their lives and careers to protect­ing public safety at every level of local, state, and federal govern­ment, the members have tried and tested numer­ous strategies and programs that reduce unne­ces­sary incar­cer­a­tion while keep­ing their communit­ies safe.


In the report, Law Enforce­ment Lead­ers offers policy recom­mend­a­tions in each of five areas:

  • Redu­cing unne­ces­sary incar­cer­a­tion
  • Increas­ing mental health and drug treat­ment
  • Bolster­ing community poli­cing
  • Improv­ing juven­ile justice
  • Preserving and expand­ing recidiv­ism reduc­tion

Imple­ment­a­tion of and fund­ing for these recom­mend­a­tions will help to forge a path toward the common goal to create safer communit­ies while redu­cing unne­ces­sary incar­cer­a­tion. Please read the full report below.