The National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice

The National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice is designed to improve relationships and increase trust between communities and the criminal justice system. It also aims to advance the public and scholarly understandings of the issues contributing to those relationships. 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 will highlight three areas that hold great promise for concrete, rapid progress:

  • Reconciliation facilitates frank conversations between 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 will combine existing and newly developed interventions informed by these ideas in six pilot sites around the country. It will also develop and implement interventions for victims of domestic violence and other crimes, youth, and the LGBTQI community; conduct research and evaluations; and establish a national clearinghouse where information, research, and technical assistance are readily accessible for law enforcement, criminal justice practitioners and community leaders. 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.

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