A gun violence discretion white paper for practitioners & advocates.
The NNSC, with support from the Joyce Foundation, led a project to develop the exercise of police-led discretion towards incidents involving violence, guns, and high-risk people. In recent years, police departments have expanded the formal use of discretion in attempts to minimize criminal justice contact for first-time, nonviolent offenses, particularly those involving substance abuse, mental health, or youth. Police also exercise discretion in more informal, ad hoc ways with regard to incidents or potential incidents of violence, but that practice is far less common and studied. The NNSC brought together scholars, law enforcement officials, and civil society leaders to outline the space for discretion and unearth lessons and insights from the existing use of discretion in responding to violence and gun crime. The project allowed us to build towards new applications and practices of discretion that minimize harmful criminal justice involvement while advancing public safety and create two resources for the field: a white paper and a toolkit for practitioners and advocates.