St. Thomas School of Law Professor Mark Osler is among a group of police chiefs, prosecutors and sheriffs pushing for a reduction in mass incarceration as a means to reduce crime. The group, organized under the name Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration, launched Oct. 21 and was invited to meet with President Barack Obama at the White House on Oct. 22.
Members include the police chiefs of the nation's largest cities – including New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago – and prosecutors from around the country. Osler is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney.
According to a press release from the organization:
Members of the group will work within their departments as well as with policymakers to pursue reforms around four policy priorities:
- Increasing alternatives to arrest and prosecution, especially mental health and drug treatment. Policies within police departments and prosecutor offices should divert people with mental health and drug addiction issues away from arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment and instead into proper treatment.
- Reducing unnecessary severity of criminal laws by reclassifying some felonies to misdemeanors or removing criminal sanctions, where appropriate.
- Reducing or eliminating mandatory minimum laws that require overly harsh, arbitrary sentences for crimes.
- Strengthening ties between law enforcement and communities by promoting strategies that keep the public safe, improve community relations, and increase community engagement.