“What Attorney General Sessions is attempting to do is to take us back to a time to when policing was a failure, when the practices failed,” Monique Dixon, a lead attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s policing reform campaign, said in an interview.
That time was in the 1980s and 1990s, when violence and drug-related crime were at an all-time high. To remedy that, governments at every level implemented broken windows policing and the infamous war on drugs — but that didn’t reduce illegal drug use or improve quality of life, Dixon said. Instead, those policies resulted in rampant civil rights violations, primarily in communities of color, and brought about mass incarceration. But in the last 20 years, there’s been one key way for cities and police departments to roll back those harmful policies: consent decrees.