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Justice & Law Enforcement

Strengthening Communities and Improving Public Safety

Senator Reed believes we must urgently reform and improve our justice system to ensure fairness, enhance public safety, and strengthen our diverse communities.

To improve public safety, Senator Reed has worked with cities and towns across the state to ensure their police departments have the staffing, training, and technology they need.  Senator Reed supports the community policing model that fosters collaborative partnerships and builds trust between law enforcement and those they serve and protect.  He believes transparency, accountability, and strong, independent oversight of police departments is essential, and that lawmakers – not just law enforcement officers – need to do more to tackle the root causes of neighborhood crime and poverty.  It is essential that we address neglected priorities like affordable housing, substance abuse, education, mental health services, workforce development, and youth programs.

Ensuring a more just future also means prioritizing rehabilitation over mass incarceration.  Today, the U.S. incarcerates its citizens more than any other country.  Senator Reed supports the efforts in Rhode Island’s drug and veterans’ treatment courts, which offer a model where offenders are held accountable through frequent court appearances and rigorous programs and interventions that help provide cost-effective alternatives for protecting public safety and reducing recidivism.


  • Reed delivered $75 million to implement the Fair Chance Act, in order to help people who have served their time find gainful employment after they’ve been released from prison.
  • The Senator also helped pass the First Step Act, a landmark criminal justice reform law that lowered recidivism rates and reduced sentences for nonviolent offenders, and gave more latitude to judges to make sure lengthy sentences are not mandated for multiple nonviolent offenses.
  • Senator Reed joined in introducing the Law Enforcement Identification Act, which would require all federal law enforcement officers, contractors, and members of the Armed Services to clearly identify themselves, their service branch or agencies, badge number, or rank while they are engaged in crowd control at civilian protests or other similar activities.
  • To help reduce the logjam in DNA evidence collection, Senator Reed voted to create the DNA Backlog Reduction Program, and has since worked to secure millions of dollars to help make headway on the problem.  This funding has helped the Rhode Island Department of Public Safety improve the quality, timeliness, and credibility of forensic science services in Rhode Island.

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