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Research Report

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.