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The Broken Trust Model of Policing Police

October 2020

The Broken Trust Model of Policing Police. — Richard Stallman
This is an email I sent to some Boston officials
Thank you. I hope you won't mind if I raise another pertinent point — from penology.

Changing people's behavior with punishments is most effective when punishment is frequent, certain, and rapid. Even a smaller punishment can do the job under these circumstances.

Justice demands punishing murderous cops, but that is not an effective way to change the cops' culture of impunity. Murderous cops have only a small chance of being punished. When that does happen, it is long delayed. And the occasions for this punishment happen (fortunately) only rarely in the Boston area.

By contrast, if we can arrange to make punishment likely and rapid when cops make false accusations, there will be a lie to punish every week.

If Boston cops saw a dozen Boston cops each year punished for lying, they could not avoid thinking, "If I keep framing people, I'm going to get caught. I had better go straight."

We can call this the "broken trust model of policing police." ;-}.

Unlike the unjust "broken windows model", this does not involve exaggerated punishments for insignificant misdeeds. Framing someone is not as bad as murder, but it is quite bad.

Copyright 2020 Richard M Stallman
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