Nearly 70% of Americans say ‘major changes’ or ‘complete overhaul’ needed of criminal justice system: poll


A wide majority of Americans across all racial and political lines believe that changes are need to law enforcement in the U.S., according to a new poll.

The survey published Tuesday by The Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 69 percent of all U.S. adults believe “major changes” or a “complete overhaul” of the U.S. criminal justice system is needed in response to the recent deaths of Black Americans in encounters with police.

A further 25 percent of American adults said that minor changes were needed to law enforcement; just 5 percent of adults who responded to the poll said that “no changes” should be made. The poll comes in the wake of massive nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd, a Black man seen on video in Minneapolis police custody pleading for medical attention while a white officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

When it comes to specific reforms, 25 percent of Americans supported reducing funding for law enforcement, while there is much wider support for reforms such as requiring the use of body cameras (89 percent), establishing clear use of force protocols (86 percent) and requiring officers to report instances of misuse of force (87 percent).

The poll did show a divide among racial lines over whether the criminal justice system needed a complete overhaul: More than half (57 percent) of Black respondents agreed with this, while just 26 percent of white respondents did. 39 percent of white respondents called for major changes, while 30 percent said just minor changes were needed.

The AP-NORC poll surveyed 1,310 adults from June 11 to 15. The margin of error is 3.7 percentage points.

Tags George Floyd protests police reform

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