• 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 matter of trust: Community officer serves, guides, befriends, respects

July 2016  |  Stockton Record  

On Stockton police officer has built strong ties with her community. CALIXTRO ROMIAS/THE RECORD

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

Some police agencies are easing racial tensions

July 2016  |  USA Today  

"Law enforcement agencies across the country have implemented radical new programs and re-trained their officers to improve relationships with minorities in their communities. "

Tags: National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice Reconciliation

Stockton police hope to strengthen community ties

July 2016  |  KCRA  

"The Stockton Police Department has implemented a number of policies hoping to strengthen community relations."

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

For Change to Happen, Americans Must Confront the Pain of Black History

July 2016  |  The Globe and Mail  

An opinion piece on the importance of addressing racial reconciliation in order to progress in criminal justice reform. 

Tags: National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice

Science is Searching for Ways to Stop Police Killings

July 2016  |  Buzzfeed News   

"Hidden racial stereotypes, marginalized communities, and decades of distrust put both the police and the people they serve in danger. Can science provide the tools to defuse these tensions?"Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

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

One year out

July 2016  |  Washington Post  

"On July 13, 2015, President Obama commuted the prison sentences of 46 nonviolent drug offenders. Here’s what their lives are like now."

Tags: Institute for Innovation in ProsecutionNational Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice Strategic ProsecutionSupport and Outreach

New Cedar Rapids police team building relationships

July 2016  |  Cedar Rapids Gazette  

"Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman made community building a priority when the department formed its Police Community Action Team, a 5-person patrol team tasked with tackling crime trends and quality of life issues in the city."

Tags: National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice Reconciliation

With trust and street cred, organizer works to change lives in north Minneapolis

July 2016  |  Minneapolis Star Tribune   

One Minneapolis outreach worker is "known for working with some of the hardest kids, some of the young ­people involved in gangs, who're looking for a way out." 

Tags: Minneapolis National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice Support and Outreach

Justice Dept. mandates ‘implicit bias’ training for agents, lawyers

June 2016  |  Reuters  

"The U.S. Justice Department announced on Monday that more than 33,000 federal agents and prosecutors will receive training aimed at preventing unconscious bias from influencing their law enforcement decisions."

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

Citizens Meet With Police On Countering Implicit Bias

June 2016  |  WAMC Radio  

"The last of a series of neighborhood meetings about implicit bias was held last[week] at Albany’s Jewish Community Center."

Tags: Albany National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice



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