How Better Policing can Contribute to Criminal Justice Reform

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Many wonder whether criminal justice reform is tenable or not. Skeptics argue that the moment for reforming the criminal justice system has passed because the right mechanisms are not yet in place. In addition, efforts aimed at reforming the sentencing system have also stalled. In its place, the relationship between local communities and the police has been on the spotlight.

Recently, news headlines have been awash with incidents of excessive use of force by the police when handling members of the public. The recent Black Lives Matter protests have equally exposed rifts between the police and the communities that they serve. Here are some tips that can help reform the criminal justice system and ultimately improve the relationship between the police and local community members.

Using Special Prosecutors to Investigate Police Misconduct

In recent months, the role that prosecutors play has come immense scrutiny. Failure by grand juries to prosecute officers accused of using excessive force has raised doubts about the ability of juries to remain unbiased in cases that involve law enforcement officers operating within the same jurisdiction. Typically, prosecutors rely on police officers to arrest, investigate cases, interrogate the suspects, and testify during trial. Most cases that involve police misconduct have conflicts of interests, which affect the prosecution process. The perceived biasness can only be eliminated by assigning such cases to special prosecutors.

Implementing Implicit Bias Training

Law enforcement officers who are involved in all forms of federal task forces need to undergo bias training because in most cases, police-civilian conflicts arise from perceived biasness. This has greatly influenced the way police perceive and treat civilians, and vice versa. Bias training will help mitigate the devastating effects of prejudice. During the training sessions, the law enforcement officers should be challenged to pinpoint significant police scenarios and decisions that manifest biasness. This will prevent unlawful arrests and the use of excessive force, thus improving relations.

That injustice and inequality exists in the criminal justice system is undeniable. This is a great challenge, which needs to be nipped in the bud so that it doesn’t escalate further. It should be noted that the challenges facing the criminal justice system reflect broader challenges within the society. Since the police play an important role in the criminal justice system, involving them in reforms will not only improve policing but will also help repair their relationship with local communities.

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