First Appearance


Reconsidering Jail: Michigan Task Force Helps Drive New Laws

Prison barsA Michigan task force whose recommendations became a successful package of jail reforms has sketched out another round of policy changes for 2021. Read more>>


Protecting the Protectors? Changes to Qualified Immunity for Police

Federal qualified immunity protects law enforcement officers from paying for violations of constitutional rights—but state and local governments almost always pay the price. Now, they’re taking action. Legislatures are creating state claims to limit applicability of qualified immunity and authorize personal liability insurance. Join us Aug. 3-5 at NCSL Base Camp to learn what it means for state and local budgets and the impact of potential federal action. Learn more>>

In the News

  • There were a flurry of policing bills during the 2021 legislative sessions, including in states like Florida, Indiana, Oregon, Virginia and Washington.
  • An Idaho Supreme Court ruled that it is a violation of the 14th Amendment to issue an arrest warrant for failure to pay fines and fees without first considering a defendant’s ability to pay. The Fines and Fees Justice Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Cato Institute and others joined together to file an amicus brief in the case.
  • A mobile crisis response unit in Missoula, Mont., became permanent this July after a successful nine-month trial period. The state now has six such units in operation, up from one in 2019.
  • Nevada enacted AB 116 this session with nearly unanimous votes in both chambers and a broad coalition of stakeholders supporting the measure. The new law decriminalizes most minor traffic violations, making them civil infractions rather than misdemeanors thereby removing the ability to issue an arrest warrant for failure to pay the fines or failure to show up in court.
  • For the second straight year only about 27% of police departments have supplied data to the National Use-of-Force Data Collection program that was launched in 2019 by the FBI. The Washington Post details work being done by some in the law enforcement community to increase reporting rates.
  • Missouri’s FY22 budget includes roughly $30 million to create and expand options other than the emergency room or jail for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. Notably, $15 million was allocated to establish six new crisis stabilization centers and continue support for existing ones.
  • Judge Nan Waller has served in the Multnomah County, Ore., circuit court system for 30 years. But in 2018, when she became the presiding judge of the mental health court and competency dockets she quickly realized the need to expand her understanding of the mental health care opportunities and challenges for people in the criminal justice system. Judge Waller is featured in the second part of the series Judges and Psychiatrists Leadership Initiative.

The Cache