The federal government has implemented new public safety strategies that are difficult for communities to understand, the Urban Institute reports.
“Too many families, particularly families of color, live in neighborhoods that have suffered from decades of disinvestment, and are excluded from neighborhoods with opportunity,” the report stated.
The Urban Institute (UI), a federally funded program, created the Project for All, which is designed to aid impoverished children. UI produced a 13-page report highlighting its areas of emphasis in the September 2020 study.
“The harms of trauma, victimization, and heavy justice system presence tend to cluster in communities experiencing concentrated poverty and multiple forms of disinvestment,” said the article.
UI feels that these issues are heavily present in communities predominantly composed of Latinx, Native American, and Black people. It maintained that during the times that new policies are presented, the predominant part of these communities are not present.
The nationwide uproar to defund police departments was spurred on by the killings of Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, to state a few. This has sparked a policy to build other safety systems. The hopes are that these new programs can create non-law enforcement funding that can provide better results with public safety. In particular, the Minneapolis City Council has voted to redirect some law-enforcement money to shift funding to community-based programs.
“These community-driven strategies often exist entirely outside of police, prisons, jails, and community supervision,” the article said.
The focus of the community-driven strategies also shifts, depending on the need of the community. One organization in Los Angeles shifted its focus to COVID-19 awareness and aid during the pandemic.
The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, also known as the 1994 crime bill, enabled large-scale expansions of police departments, and greatly limited any sentencing reduction programs.
The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services was also created by this legislation. It provided incentives for states to adopt truth-in-sentencing statutes. These statutes greatly reduced credits earned in prison and increased community policing.
Recently, the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, a federally funded initiative, was created to help reduce incarceration and reinvest the funding in other areas of the justice system.
“Each of these federal efforts has shaped public safety decisions at the state and local levels,” said the article.
Previously, federal investments have primarily focused on the more traditional justice system agencies, such as prosecution, policing, and corrections.
The Urban Peace Institute provides funding to programs like the Los Angeles Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD) that curb L.A. youth from joining gangs. It also mediates shootings to help reduce retaliation, the article said.
The report suggests the following changes:
- A network of community-based organizations – ties to specific neighborhoods.
- Intermediary organizations that have trusting relationships with grassroots leaderships.
- Local government participation from non-law enforcement entities – coordinating public efforts with grassroots partners.