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Abstract

The Department of Justice's pattern-or-practice police reform program has been an unprecedented event in American policing, intervening in local and state law enforcement agencies as never before and requiring a sweeping package of reforms. The program has reached reform settlements with forty agencies, including twenty with judicially enforced consent decrees. Academic research on the program, however, has been fairly modest. Social scientists have largely focused on a few selected issues. There is no study of the full impact of the program on one agency, and there is no comprehensive study of the impact of the program as a whole. Evaluations of individual agencies have been generally favorable, although with backsliding in some agencies. This review argues that the combination of several major goals and the various elements of specific consent decree reforms has created a web of accountability that is unmatched by any previous police reform effort.

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2022-01-13
2024-04-16
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