This morning, U.S Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) cosponsored the Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere (JUSTICE) Act, introduced by Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and a number of their Senate colleagues. The legislation provides long-term solutions focused on police reform, accountability and transparency, while also promoting efforts to find solutions to issues affecting people of color.
“I am proud to cosponsor the JUSTICE Act and want to thank Sen. Scott for his leadership on this proposal to address law enforcement reform, accountability and transparency,” Inhofe said. “It should be obvious that defunding our law enforcement—those who are here to keep us safe—is not the answer. Rather, we should use better training and stronger accountability measures to hold those who choose to abuse their badge accountable for their actions. In the midst of this tragedy of the killing of George Floyd and other Americans, I am hopeful our colleagues across the aisle will join us in standing for meaningful reforms with the passage of the JUSTICE Act.”
The full text of the JUSTICE Act is here, and a section by section analysis is here. A summary is below.
Law Enforcement Reform
- The JUSTICE Act strengthens the training methods and tactics throughout law enforcement jurisdictions, especially regarding de-escalation of force and the duty to intervene, providing law enforcement with new funding to do so, and will also end the practice of utilizing chokeholds
- Additionally, the bill will reform hiring practices by providing more resources to ensure the makeup of police departments more closely matches the communities they serve
- The JUSTICE Act also ensures when a candidate is interviewed, the department looking to hire will have access to their prior disciplinary records
- Too often, after a tragic incident, we have learned the offending officer had a disciplinary past in another jurisdiction of which their current employer was unaware
- Studies show that when body cameras are properly used violent encounters decrease significantly
- The JUSTICE Act will put more body cameras on the streets, and ensure that departments are both using the cameras and storing their data properly
- JUSTICE also requires a report establishing best practices for the hiring, firing, suspension, and discipline of law enforcement officers
- Currently, only about 40 percent of police officers from jurisdictions nationwide report to the FBI after an incident where an officer has discharged his or her weapon or used force
- The bill will require full reporting in these two areas
- There is also very little data as to when, where and why no knock warrants are used, and the JUSTICE Act will require reporting in this area as well
- The JUSTICE Act will finally make lynching a federal crime
- It also creates two commissions to study and offer solutions to a broader range of challenges facing black men and boys, and the criminal justice system as a whole