[THIS SPACE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK]

Updated:
Posted in: Civil Rights

After police shot and killed Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, the Hillary Clinton campaign had this to say:

[THIS SPACE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK]

Not to be outdone, the Trump campaign responded with characteristic candor:

[THIS SPACE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK]

This is apparently a bipartisan sentiment.  The Sanders campaign, which has not suspended operations, was equally forthright:

[THIS SPACE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK]

On the other hand, the major players in criminal justice reform were more nuanced.  Here is the statement by the Pew Charitable Trusts, a leader in the Justice Reinvestment Initiative that has assumed such a prominent place in state-level reforms:

[THIS SPACE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK]

Pew’s partner in JRI is the Council on State Governments, which had this important observation:

[THIS SPACE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK]

CSG has a special project devoted to criminal justice reform, the goal of which is to develop “collaborative approaches to public safety,” including reforms to law enforcement.  Here is the statement CSG posted on its “Justice Center” site:

[THIS SPACE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK]

As many have observed, conservatives have warmly embraced criminal justice reform.  After the shootings, RightOnCrime made this important intervention:

[THIS SPACE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK]

One of the many exciting developments in criminal justice reform has been the emergence of new funding streams.  The Laura and John Arnold Foundation, for instance, has developed a “criminal justice initiative,” the aim of which is “to reduce crime, increase public safety, and ensure the criminal justice system operates as fairly and cost-effectively as possible.”  It has a particular interest in “the front end of the criminal justice system.”  Here is the Arnold Foundation’s statement in response to the shootings:

[THIS SPACE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK]

An unquestioned leader in criminal justice research and policy is the VERA Institute of Justice.  Here is what they had to say:

[THIS SPACE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK]

I have often decried the determination of the criminal justice reform movement to focus on corrections and reentry and ignore policing.  So far as I can tell, the only reform of the police function that seems likely to gain nationwide acceptance is the use of body cameras, perhaps of the sort worn by the officers who shot Alton Sterling.   Apart from a smattering of scholars and progressive police leaders, there is almost no call to end order maintenance policing across the country.  In this regard, it is worth recalling that Philando Castile was stopped for a broken taillight.  Nor is there a meaningful demand that police implement enforcement strategies that concentrate narrowly on the tiny number of people and places responsible for the vast majority of the crime.

When leaders are silent, people will take to the streets.  Tragically, shamefully, some will be armed, and the violence will continue.