Mission

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.

The National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice is a project to improve relationships and increase trust between communities and the criminal justice system and advance the public and scholarly understandings of the issues contributing to those relationships. In September 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a three year, $4.75 million grant to establish the project. In collaboration with the Department of Justice, the National Initiative is coordinated by the National Network for Safe Communities at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, with partnership from the Justice collaboratory at Yale Law School, the Center for Policing Equity at John Jay College and UCLA, and the Urban Institute.


The National Initiative’s work involves trust-building interventions with police departments and communities based on three pillars:

  • Enhancing procedural justice: the way police interact with the public, and how those interactions shape the public’s views of the police, their willingness to obey the law, and their engagement in co-producing public safety in their neighborhoods.
  • Reducing the impact of implicit bias: the automatic associations individuals make between groups of people and stereotypes about those groups, and the influence it has in policing.
  • Fostering reconciliation: frank engagements between minority communities and law enforcement to address historical tensions, grievances, and misconceptions that contribute to mutual mistrust and misunderstanding and prevent police and communities from working together.

The project combines existing and newly developed interventions informed by these ideas in six pilot sites: Birmingham, Alabama; Ft. Worth, Texas; Gary, Indiana; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Stockton, California. It also develops and implements interventions for youth, immigrants, LGBTQIA communities, victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and other marginalized communities, as well as conducts research and evaluations. The pilot sites were chosen for their demonstrated willingness and capacity to engage in the research, intervention, and evaluation process, as well as for factors such as jurisdiction size, ethnic and religious composition, and population density.


Additional training and technical assistance are available to police departments and communities that are not pilot sites through the Office of Justice Programs Diagnostic Center. Resources, research, and updates are available and consistently updated on the National Initiative’s website. The National Initiative is guided by a board of advisors that includes national leaders from law enforcement, academia and faith-based groups, as well as community stakeholders and civil rights advocates.



Leadership


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