Policing Posts

Everyday justice

Professor Tracey Meares has sandwiched this trip to Chicago between two teaching days at the Yale Law School, timing it for when her kids are out of the house. On this cool Thursday morning in May 2017, she’s back in her favorite city, where she lived for almost 20 years. She’s come to Chicago State University to help train investigators for the city’s new Civilian Office of Police Accountability. At Yale, she teaches students in their 20s, in a wood-paneled room hung with portraits in oil, but here in this windowless, fluorescent-lit room, her students are three dozen former prosecutors, defense attorneys, and ex-cops. They will soon begin investigating complaints against Chicago’s often reviled police.

Race and the New Policing

Several observers credit nearly 25 years of declining crime rates to the “New Policing” and its emphasis on advanced statistical metrics, new forms of organizational accountability, and aggressive tactical enforcement of minor crimes.

A Few Criminal Justice Big Data Rules

But there is no doubt we are on the precipice of a criminal justice data revolution, and it is a good time to take stock and to begin developing guidelines so that, as much as possible, criminal justice systems might reap the benefits and avoid the pitfalls of this newly data-centric world.

My Life in Crime: An Intellectual History of the Juvenile Court

Part I examines changes associated with the Supreme Court’s requirement that juvenile courts provide delinquents some procedural safeguards. Part II examines the Get Tough Era and states’ emphases on youths’ adult-like culpability and adoption of punitive policies. Part III reviews the Supreme Court’s recent jurisprudence of youth, reaffirmation that children are different, and limits on harsh punishment for youths. It concludes with a reflection on the limits of juvenile justice reform to improve the life chances of young people.

Establishing Best Practices for Stop Data Collection

Few controversies in policing are as fraught as the use of Terry stops—temporary detentions made by officers upon reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, often accompanied by protective pat-down searches known as “frisks.” Studies have shown that racial minorities are disproportionately targeted for Terry stops, raising concerns about profiling and discrimination. Yet many police agencies view Terry stops as a critical tool in their arsenal. A related concern is the use of traffic stops—even on probable cause—to conduct more intrusive searches.

Amazon Echo, Google Home Devices Raise Privacy Rights Questions

Legal experts say Congress and the states need to step in to protect Americans’ privacy rights from the proliferation of voice-activated personal assistant devices such as Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home, after a murder case in Arkansas raised questions about how much the devices are hearing — and whether the government can demand access to its recordings.

Proportional Use of Force

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The Policing project is on ALI’s Annual Meeting agenda this year for the first time, specifically, Use of Force. These principles were prioritized because there is an immediate need for guidance on this issue, and many states and police departments are considering reform to their current use of force policies.

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