• National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice

    The National Network for Safe Communities is leading Yale Law School, UCLA, and the Urban Institute in launching the DOJ's National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice, which is designed to strengthen relationships between minority communities and the criminal justice system.

About


CONTACT: Amy Crawford, Interim Project Director T: 646-557-4795​ E: acrawford@jjay.cuny.edu

CLEARINGHOUSE WEBSITE: trustandjustice.org

In September 2014, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice has awarded the National Network for Safe Communities, through John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a three-year, $4.75 million grant to launch a National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice.  The National Initiative is directed by Professor David Kennedy, Amy Crawford is the project manager, and John Jay College President Jeremy Travis, Professor Tracey Meares and Professor Tom Tyler of Yale Law School, Professor Phillip Atiba Goff of UCLA, and Dr. Nancy La Vigne and Dr. Jocelyn Fontaine of the Urban Institute are principal partners. The National Initiative is designed to improve relationships and increase trust between minority communities and the criminal justice system. It also aims to advance the public and scholarly understandings of the issues contributing to those relationships.

The National Initiative will highlight three areas that hold great promise for concrete, rapid progress:

  • Racial reconciliation facilitates frank conversations between minority communities and law enforcement that allow them to address historic tensions, grievances, and misconceptions between them and reset relationships. 
  • Procedural justice focuses on how the characteristics of law enforcement interactions with the public shape the public’s views of the police, their willingness to obey the law, and actual crime rates.  
  • Implicit bias focuses on how largely unconscious psychological processes can shape authorities’ actions and lead to racially disparate outcomes even where actual racism is not present. 

The National Initiative is combining existing and newly developed interventions informed by these ideas in six pilot sites around the country. The six pilot sites, announced in March 2015, are Birmingham, Alabama; Ft. Worth, Texas; Gary, Indiana; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Stockton, California.

The National Initiative is also developing and implementing interventions for victims of domestic violence and other crimes, youth, and the LGBTQI community; conducting research and evaluations; and maintaining a national clearinghouse website at trustandjustice.org, where information, research, and technical assistance are readily accessible for law enforcement, criminal justice practitioners and community leaders. Through the Office of Justice Program’s Diagnostic Center, police departments and community groups can request training, peer mentoring, expert consultation and other types of assistance on implicit bias, procedural justice and racial reconciliation.  The initiative will be guided by a board of advisors which will include national leaders from law enforcement, academia and faith-based groups, as well as community stakeholders and civil rights advocates.

ABOUT THE INITIATIVE TEAM

David M. Kennedy has worked for over 20 years to bring reconciliation and substantive change to America’s most distressed communities. He has pioneered strategies for working in real-time partnership with stakeholders at all levels, taking on particular important problems, developing and directing large-scale interventions, and promulgating them nationally. Central to his extensive field work has been a process of racial reconciliation that Kennedy designed by engaging communities historically divided from law enforcement, dispelling toxic misunderstandings between them, fostering a process of truth-telling that allows them to find common ground and address serious violence in partnership, and allowing law enforcement to step back and communities to reset their own public safety standards. Kennedy is the director of the National Network for Safe Communities (NNSC), a project of John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Kennedy’s history in this area includes the Boston Gun Project, which created the now widely-applied “Operation Ceasefire” Group Violence Intervention and reduced youth gun violence citywide; the High Point Drug Market Intervention; the Justice Department’s Strategic Approaches to Community Safety Initiative, which was the applied nationally as Project Safe Neighborhoods; the Treasury Department’s Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative; the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Drug Market Intervention; and the theoretical development of focused deterrence, which has informed a range of proved interventions focused on homicide, gun violence, drug markets, and community corrections.

Amy Crawford, JD, has extensive experience in developing small teams into sustainable and highly effective organizations through personnel development and cooperative management. She brings to the effort an ability to align day-to-day task management with overarching organizational goals. She is currently the Deputy Director for the National Network for Safe Communities (NNSC), where she oversees and develops relationships with foundations, governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, and important community figures. She is also responsible for managing and implementing the strategic agenda of the NNSC. Previously, she has served as the Deputy Director at the nonprofit organization Center for an Urban Future and the Director of Development and Pro Bono at The Bronx Defenders. Crawford has also overseen direct service to underserved, low-income populations, providing legal counsel and advising.

Tom R. Tyler, PhD, brings to the effort his reputation for creating “paradigm shifting scholarship in the study of law and society,” for which he won the Law and Society Association Harry Kalven prize in 2000. He is the Macklin Fleming Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology at Yale Law School. Prior to coming to Yale, he also taught at New York University, the University of California, Berkeley, and Northwestern University. Dr. Tyler has done extensive research and published numerous articles, books, and chapters on how individuals’ judgments about the justice or injustice of certain procedures shape their subsequent legitimacy, compliance, and cooperation, particularly in the field of interactions with law enforcement. Dr. Tyler has worked extensively with Tracey Meares to research and publish findings on police legitimacy and procedural justice and advise agencies on the practical use of these concepts in the field.

Tracey L. Meares, JD, is one of the leading national theorists on police legitimacy and, in particular, how racial narratives influence police relationships with minority communities and how deliberate attention to these issues can influence community compliance with the law. She is a Walton Hale Hamilton Professor at Yale Law School, before which she was Max Pam Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Studies in Criminal Justice at the University of Chicago Law School. Her research focuses on communities, police legitimacy, and legal policy.

Phillip A. Goff, PhD, is best known for his work exploring “racism without racists,” the notion that contextual factors—even absent racial hostility—can facilitate racially unjust outcomes. His research is the first to link psychological factors to an officer’s use of force history, creating the first empirical model for predicting police violence and racial bias in police brutality. Dr. Goff is an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has worked as an equity researcher and consultant for police departments around the country, and he has recently established the Center for Policing Equity (CPE) at UCLA.  This national action research network counts more than 75 researchers and numerous major cities as collaborators, each of which provide unfettered access to data for the purposes of creating new research, sparking policy changes and promoting community accountability.

Nancy La Vigne, PhD, has over twenty years of experience as a researcher and evaluator of criminal justice programs, policies, and technologies and brings a wealth of methodological, research, and management expertise to the team. She is the lead author on an upcoming COPS Office report on “stop and frisk,” which explains to a law enforcement audience the potentially negative impact of the practice on police-community relations and describes methods to carry out citizen contacts lawfully, respectfully, and in accordance with the tenets of community policing and procedural justice. Under her leadership, the Justice Policy Center has conducted research projects on justice reinvestment, police accountability, and civilian oversight of the criminal justice system.

Jocelyn Fontaine, PhD, leads research projects that evaluate the impact of community-based initiatives at the individual, family, and community level through both qualitative and quantitative data analysis. She has experience developing survey instruments, facilitating focus groups, conducting fieldwork in a variety of settings, facilitating stakeholder interviews, and translating best practices into program implementation.



News & Updates

A researcher explains the sad truth: we know how to stop gun violence. But we don’t do it.

December 2016  |  Vox  

"So what can America do to stop gun violence? A new, major report from Harvard University researchers Thomas Abt and Christopher Winship reviewed the evidence, putting together the big take from 43 reviews of the research that covered more than 1,400 individual studies, while following up with on-the-ground fieldwork across the US and Latin America."

Tags: Stockton National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice Group Violence Intervention

Working together to ensure public safety in 21st-century Minneapolis

November 2016  |  Minneapolis Post  

"Every day, mayors across the country, including here in Minneapolis, are guided by a vision of a city that runs well for everyone. A core part of that work is making sure every resident is safe in every neighborhood. "

Tags: Minneapolis National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice Group Violence Intervention

Ken Thompson’s Successor: A ‘Pure District Attorney’ Working Under the Radar

November 2016  |  New York Times  

"Eric Gonzalez says he wants to continue the work, especially in healing community relations, that Mr. Thompson championed before dying in October."An Rong Xu for The New York Times

Tags: New York City Institute for Innovation in ProsecutionNational Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice

Liberation Through Language: Philip Goff’s First Lecture at John Jay College

November 2016  |  John Jay College   

"Phillip Atiba Goff, the recently appointed Franklin A. Thomas Professor in Policing Equity, delivered his first lecture in that role on Oct. 20, speaking eloquently and earnestly on “Justice as a Second Language.”"

Tags: National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice

Stockton Police Department Making Progress on Community Policing

November 2016  |  Stockton Record  

"Amid the current turmoil surrounding police and community relations, both nationally and locally, it is important that the citizens of this community be aware of the efforts and successes that are occurring in this area with our Stockton Police Department."

Tags: Stockton National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice Group Violence Intervention

How Do We Unlearn Racism

November 2016  |  Complex Magazine  

"The past few years of race relations in America beg the question: can our racism be unlearned? Experts believe perhaps it can, but that work starts with a better understanding of the nation's history."

Tags: National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice Reconciliation

McLay resigned, but his reforms should remain

November 2016  |  The Pitt News  

"During his tenure, short-lived as it was, McLay worked to alleviate racial tensions between the police force and Pittsburgh’s minority communities, made police more visible to the community and pushed for officers to undergo implicit bias and other new types of training."

Tags: Pittsburgh National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice Group Violence Intervention

What it’s Like to Vote After Prison

November 2016  |  Politico Magazine  

"According to a report by The Sentencing Project, over 6 million Americans, mostly black and brown, mostly men, will not be allowed to vote this year as a result of felon disenfranchisement laws—a higher number than ever before due to growing size of the criminal justice system. But only about 20 percent of this disenfranchised population are actually behind bars—the rest are living in their communities, having completed their prison sentences or on parole or probation."

Tags: National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice

Can Empathy Improve Policing?

October 2016  |  Huffington Post  

"Social scientists have begun joining forces with police to look at how police communication protocols and training can be changed to help increase community trust for the police and reduce the use of force—and help them work together to fight crime."

Tags: National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice Reconciliation

Better by Half

October 2016  |  Marshall Project  

"Between 1996 and 2014, [New York City] was bucking the national trends. Its incarceration rate — including inmates in city jails and prisoners in state prisons who originated in the city — declined by 55 percent, while incarceration in the remainder of both New York State and the United States was rising."

Tags: National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice Group Violence Intervention Reconciliation



Project Director

The National Initiative is currently seeking a permanent Project Director to oversee strategic implementation in six pilot cities around the United States. 


John Jay College

John Jay College of Criminal Justice is home to the National Network for Safe Communities, which works in troubled communities nationally and drives innovative practice in racial reconciliation between law enforcement and minority communities.


Yale Law School

 Yale Law School staff brings leading expertise on procedural justice and interventions to improve perceptions of police legitimacy.


UCLA

The Center for Policing Equity at UCLA brings leading expertise and research capacity around implicit bias.


Urban Institute

The Urban Institute offers extensive evaluation expertise across a wide array of topics germane to the project of the initiative.


Implementation