Letter to the editor: Reforms needed now

To the editor:

Two statements in the June 11 Journal-World continue to gnaw at my conscience.

The first, in an article by Mackenzie Clark with the front-page headline “Lawrence police release report on 2019 use of force inquiries” reads: “According to department policies, the review board includes one captain, two sergeants and two officers/detectives with expertise in use of force and one additional officer/detective, to be assigned by the chief of police.” Glaringly, this review board is absent any outside, objective participant. Is it surprising the review board found all 17 uses of force reported in 2019 followed department policies and procedures? As the public outcry for police reform and transparency grows, it appears obvious that an in-house review board is no longer tolerable and does not act as an agent for change.

The second statement comes from Mike Brouwer, coordinator for the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, in the article “Few Options Left for Jail Population Crisis.” He states he expects to see a spike in jail bookings as the restaurants and bars continue reopening and many people return to work. As these activities seem completely benign and normal, I would ask the question why would that result in more jail bookings? Is there something inherently more criminal about the American citizenry compared to citizens in nations around the world? Is that why we lead the world in incarceration rates? Or should we look further into our laws and penalties for infractions of the law? What are other options available to us besides jail?

Kelly Wall,

Lawrence

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