Chattanooga police chief, national figures seek to reform criminal justice system

Authored By matt.pulford

Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher is working with more than 130 law enforcement officers, federal and state chief prosecutors, and attorneys general nationwide to curb crime while limiting the length of incarceration. 

Last week in Washington, D.C., this initiative, the Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration, announced their policy agenda.

In the release, the Law Enforcement Leaders proposed these four solutions: 

-Increasing alternatives to arrest and prosecution

-Restoring balance to criminal laws and reclassifying nonviolent crimes

-Reforming mandatory minimums

-Strengthening community-law enforcement ties

More information on their statement of principles and solutions can be found here.

The Law Enforcement Leaders mission comes on the heels of bipartisan outcry to reform penalties and reduce the prison population. 

According to the Law Enforcement Leaders website, the U.S. prison system holds 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, costing American taxpayers $80 billion. 

“If the [U.S.] prison population were a state, it would be the 36th largest,” the Law Enforcement Leaders website said. “Too many people are behind bars that don’t belong there. As law enforcement professionals, we have a responsibility to work toward reducing unnecessary incarceration while continuing to ensure our communities are safe.”

The four-pronged approach seeks to make the city safer, make the justice system more efficient and lessen jail time, Fletcher said. 

“[The Law Enforcement Leaders] is a culmination of many of us who spent two or three decades working in criminal justice, reflecting on our experiences and how we can use it to shape a deliberate and progressive criminal justice system,” Fletcher said. “[Locally], we are excited to be part of the conservation to address issues of crime and over-incarceration in the U.S.”