A Look at Julián Castro’s Comprehensive and Ambitious Policing Reform Plan

Jun 4, 2019
3:43 PM

On Monday, presidential candidate Julián Castro shared his platform’s latest plan, “People First Policing,” a set of policies that will seek to reform the country’s criminal justice system from a federal standpoint. The announcement comes at the heels of Ava Duvernay’s film “When They See Us,” which has re-sparked the conversation about the need to radically change a system that leads to the mass incarceration of black and brown men and women. The Democrat’s latest plan states that “if elected president, Julián Castro would treat this as the crisis it is, demanding of a federal response,” with part of the crisis being the deaths of people of color at the hands of police.

“I don’t care who you are in this country. You’ve seen these videos over and over and over again, of police officers who have used excessive force disproportionately, especially against young black men,” Castro told CNN during an interview with Don Lemon, “And places like New York City that we’re in tonight, have quite a history.” He pointed out that New York City has paid out $108 million in 2018 alone in settlements, many of them related to excessive force.

The program’s focus on federal-level implementation vs. local has caught the eye of many. And while it is ambitious, it seeks to get at the root of issues that lead to injustice, from holding police officers accountable to ensuring there are more educational programs available for youth.

Here, we’ve decided to do a short breakdown of some of policies in Castro’s “People First Policing” plan that you should know about (mainly the three pillars the plan stands on).

1. End over-aggressive policing and combat racially discriminatory policing.

The plan states that it would seek to curtail over-aggressive policing by creating national standards that would address the current methods that allow for cops to not only be overly aggressive, but also walk away with impunity. One way that the plan would do this is by restricting “the use of deadly force unless there is an imminent threat to the life of another person.”

Ending the school-to-prison pipeline and tackling student discipline practices is also included as part of the plan.

2. Increase accountability and transparency 

One key proposal is seeking accountability for the use of overaggressive force. The plan states that it would “make it easier to hold offending officers accountable under criminal and civil law. Work with Congress to put forward legislation to lower the unfairly high burden to prosecute police officers for misconduct—ensuring those who violate constitutional or legal protections of civilians under Section 242 are held accountable.”

The proposal would seek to eliminate “consequence-free” weapon discharges and arrests by requiring strict reporting.

3. Mend the relationship between community members and law enforcement

The third pillar of the plan is to create a “culture of trust” between law enforcement and constituents. The plan would 1. demilitarize the police; 2. end the “broken windows policing,” 3. ensure law enforcement officers receive high-quality mental health and trauma support services; and 4. Invest in programs that address root causes and find alternatives to criminal justice interventions, and more.

The full plan can be found on Castro’s campaign site.



Amanda Alcántara is the Digital Media Editor at Futuro Media. She tweets from @YoSoy_Amanda.