This memorandum summarizes existing scholarly research on police stops; pretrial detention; charging, plea bargaining, and sentencing; and alternatives to incarceration. For each topic, the memo surveys the extent to which each of these contributes to racial disparities as well as inaccuracies in criminal justice; identifies reforms that have worked elsewhere to ameliorate these problems; and considers the extent to which these reforms are compatible with preserving and improving public safety. The memorandum concludes with a brief discussion of recent scholarship that both highlights larger social factors that contribute to disparity and identifies programs and initiatives outside of the criminal justice system that might reduce racial disparities within the system.
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