Ferguson Commission issues reform recommendations

Janet Nguyen Sep 14, 2015

The Ferguson Commission released a report Monday prescribing a series of recommendations on how to reform the St. Louis criminal justice system and its education, healthcare and economic policies.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon formed the commission after the death of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old who was killed by former Ferguson cop Darren Wilson. Brown’s death last August ignited protests and a slew of questions about institutionalized racism and police brutality in the country, which the report — titled “Forward Through Ferguson: A Path Toward Racial Equity” — aims to address.

“We are not pointing fingers and calling individual people racist. We are not even suggesting that institutions or existing systems intend to be racist,” the report says. “What we are pointing out is that the data suggest, time and again, that our institutions and existing systems are not equal, and that this has racial repercussions.”

“Black people in the region feel those repercussions when it comes to law enforcement, the justice system, housing, health, education and income,” the report continues.

Some key changes to the criminal justice system the report suggests include the creation of a public database that details killings involving police and increasing police training to improve officer interaction with minority groups, St. Louis Public Radio says.  

Meanwhile, the report’s suggestions for economic reform include raising minimum wage and expanding Medicaid eligibility. Its educational proposals consist of “investing in early childhood education” and changing school discipline policies such that “the option for out-of-school suspensions and expulsions for students in pre-kindergarten through 3rd grade” is eliminated.

 

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