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NDSC Criminal Justice Data Initiative
The Initiative began at the end of a decade that elevated the urgent need for reform across many parts of the criminal justice system. Although tensions between police and communities of color have existed for over century in the United States, the widespread availability of camera phones and movements like #BlackLivesMatter beginning in 2013 brought issues of violence and racial discrimination at the hands of law enforcement into the internet mainstream. Prison reform appeared in both the Democratic and Republican party platforms for the first time in the 2016 election. California, which has one of the country’s largest prison systems, passed a number of bi-partisan bills in recent years to end cash bail and the prosecution of children as adults. However, recent protests in cities around the world in response to the killing of George Floyd and many others by law enforcement clearly indicate that much more is needed in the way of police and justice reform to earn public trust. Research shows that Americans still have widely differing views on policing and the system as a whole, particularly across racial lines. A 2016 survey by Pew found that 75% of White Americans thought that police use the right amount of force in each situation and treat racial and ethnic groups equally. By comparison, just over a third of Black Americans thought the same. One explanation for this marked divide in opinion about policing and criminal justice could be a lack of data and information. Police departments are not required by federal law to report data on their activities to the FBI or to the public, and in 2016, under 60% of police departments reported arrest data to the FBI. Additionally, the Trump Administration’s elimination of police reforms put in place by the Obama Administration, including the use of consent decrees to bring federal oversight of troubled police departments, has eroded support from Black communities who feel agencies that practice racial profiling, use excessive force and other forms of unconstitutional policing are free to do so without impunity.
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Most Active Officials in Los Angeles County, CA