The Civil Rights Implications of Cash Bail

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released the report, The Civil Rights Implications of Cash Bail which examines current approaches to reforming the pre-trial and bail systems in the U.S. criminal justice system. The report reveals that between 1970 and 2015, there was a 433% increase in the number of individuals who have been detained pre-trial, and pre-trial detainees represent a larger proportion of the total incarcerated population.

Among the report’s observations:

  • There were stark racial and gender disparities, with higher pre-trial detention rates and financial conditions of release imposed on Black and Latinx individuals, when compared with other demographic groups) and gender. Men are less likely than women to be granted non-financial release, for example, and face higher bail amounts.
  • More than 60% of defendants are detained pre-trial because they can’t afford to post bail.
  • The collateral consequences of pre-trial detention result in several negative consequences for detainees, including an increased likelihood of being convicted, an increased likelihood of housing insecurity, detrimental effects on employment, and an increased likelihood to engage in criminal conduct in the future.

“More than half-a-million unconvicted people sit in jails across the nation awaiting trial,” said Norma V. Cantú, Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. “Presumption of innocence is the bedrock of our criminal justice system, with liberty the rule and pre-trial detention intended to be a ‘carefully limited exception,’”1 she observed. “Under the current bail system, it has become the norm.”

The Commission held a public virtual briefing on this subject in February 2021 to collect information from subject matter experts such as government officials, academics, legal experts, law enforcement officials, criminal justice advocates, and impacted persons. The Maryland, Oregon and Kentucky State Advisory Committees to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights also collected and provided testimony on related civil rights issues in their respective jurisdictions.

See report HERE

Policing the Police: Personnel Management and Police Misconduct

Abstract

Police misconduct is at the top of the public policy agenda, but there is surprisingly little understanding of how police personnel management policies affect police misconduct. Police-civilian interactions in large jurisdictions are, in principle at least, highly regulated. However, these regulations are at least partially counteracted by union contracts and civil service regulations that constrain discipline and other personnel decisions, thereby limiting a city’s ability to manage its police force. This article analyzes police personnel management by bringing forth evidence from a variety of data sources on police personnel practices as well as integrating an existing, but relatively siloed, literature on police misconduct. The empirical findings that emerge are as follows: (1) policing is a surprisingly secure, well-paid job with little turnover prior to retirement age; (2) inexperienced police officers are, all else equal, more likely to commit misconduct and at the same time more likely to receive high-risk assignments; and (3) bad cops are a serious problem, are identifiable, and are rarely removed or disciplined. Taken together, these facts suggest that attempts to regulate police conduct directly or through civil rights litigation are impeded by the inability of those who supervise police to control individual officers through assignments, discipline, and removal. The nexus of compensation, seniority, promotion, discipline, and pension policies that characterize much police personnel management cannot be rationalized under traditional labor and employment contract analysis. However, existing compensation and pension policies could be rationalized if supervisors were empowered to manage police through assignments, penalties, and promotion.

Get the report HERE

Smash & Grab Retail

When police busted a shoplifting ring operating out of a liquor store last spring, they calculated that the dozen or so people involved had swiped at least $375,000 worth of goods from retailers such as Walmart, Lowe’s, and Walgreens. The pair heading the ring relied on small-time thieves, including several with drug arrest records, to launch brazen “grab-and-go” operations in which they snatched expensive goods and then raced out of stores and fled in cars with phony license plates. Though police and prosecutors often categorize shoplifting as a nonviolent crime, the gang’s sprees resulted in several physical confrontations, including one in which a gang member assaulted a store employee with a stun gun. This may sound similar to the organized smash-and-grab lootings that have plagued high-end retailers in San Francisco and other Northern California communities recently, but this gang was operating out of Daytona Beach, Florida—and had done so for nearly two years.
— Read on www.city-journal.org/smash-and-grab-retail

‘We’re Not Ready for Police-Free Zones’ | The Crime Report

This is an interesting discussion with Professor Moskos about crime and how New York City defeated crime in the 1990s. The Crime Report is a paid site where it allows 5 free articles a month. I recommend subscribing to it because it offers a lot of useful information about criminal justice issues.

Explanations for the rise in violent crime tend to avoid the role police play in crime prevention, argues policing expert Peter Moskos. In the latest installment of the “At the Crossroads” series of interviews sponsored by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, Moskos tells Greg Berman that cops need to be proactive in addressing clear threats like gun offenders.
— Read on thecrimereport.org/2022/01/20/were-not-ready-for-police-free-zones/

Timeline of events since George Floyd’s arrest and death | AP News

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A timeline of key events that began with George Floyd’s arrest on May 25, 2020, by four police officers in Minneapolis: May 25, 2020 — Minneapolis police officers respond to a call shortly after 8 p.m.
— Read on apnews.com/article/death-of-george-floyd-george-floyd-minneapolis-arrests-police-7d8130621a8bf2ecec3e7df57f27827b