Gatekeepers: The Role of Police in Ending Mass Incarceration

Gatekeepers: The Role of Police in Ending Mass Incarceration – FACT SHEET (PDF)
Vera Institute of Justice – August 2019

Everyone is familiar with the image of a police car driving away with a person in handcuffs—but to where? In the United States, some people wind up at a police station, from which they are later released. More often, however, people in police custody eventually land in local jails—county or municipal detention facilities that primarily house people who have been charged but not yet convicted of a crime. In
fact, the likelihood that arrest will lead to jail incarceration has increased steadily over the years.

But jail incarceration isn’t the only negative consequence of police over-reliance on arrest. Just a few days in jail increase a person’s likelihood of being found guilty, receiving a harsher sentence, and committing a future crime. People with arrest records also have a harder time maintaining or finding employment, credit, or housing. Over-reliance on enforcement also produces profound emotional impacts. Anxiety and other symptoms of trauma are more common among those stopped by police.

Read the full FACT SHEET for more information.

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