Civil Rights Group Releases Polling on Criminal Justice Issues

Media 10.26,15

WASHINGTON – Today, The Leadership Conference Education Fund and Anzalone Liszt Grove Research released new public opinion polling on attitudes toward three major criminal justice reform issues: transparency and accountability for police body-worn cameras, civil asset forfeiture, and racial profiling.

The online poll of 880 adults sheds light on attitudes around the more nuanced policy concerns associated with these issues, which are all rapidly developing at the state, local and national levels. For example:

·         There is overwhelming support for transparency and accountability in the deployment of body-worn cameras by police departments as outlined in the Civil Rights Principles on Body Worn Cameras released by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and a coalition of organizations in May of 2015.

o   Body-worn camera programs are currently being developed by police departments nationwide and the Department of Justice has begun distributing federal funding to support this work.  

·         The public firmly supports a ban on racial profiling, both by police and by national security agencies and immigration officials.

o   The Department of Homeland Security is currently developing racial profiling guidance for its agencies. 

·         Support for civil asset forfeiture reform is strong regardless of party affiliation, with more than 70 percent of Democrats, Republicans and independents supporting changes to these laws after hearing a description. 

o   There has been a robust effort at the state and federal levels to reform profit-sharing laws that incentivize police departments to seize the assets of innocent people. 

“Given the deep and massive disparities permeating every juncture of the criminal justice system, we’re now presented with a myriad of initiatives attempting to address decades of entrenched policy failures,” said Sakira Cook, policy counsel at The Leadership Conference. “Policymakers need to understand that the American people support accountability and transparency for body cameras, that they support a ban on racial profiling and that they support an end to policing for profit.” 

·         Click here to download the polling memo.

·         Click here to listen to a conference call about the poll with Ms. Cook and with Matt Hogan from Anzalone Liszt Grove Research.  

The Leadership Conference Education Fund builds public will for federal policies that promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. The Education Fund’s campaigns empower and mobilize advocates around the country to push for progressive change in the United States. It was founded in 1969 as the education and research arm of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.