- President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice released a roadmap for addressing violent crime Monday based on priorities identified by the Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ), a think tank with ties to liberal nonprofits.
CCJ is funded by left-of-center charitable ventures like the Ford Foundation and Pew Charitable Trusts, groups that have supported embedding racial justice initiatives in the criminal justice system.
“Our policy task forces are established by our team, and funders have no opportunity to influence their findings or recommendations,” CCJ President Adam Gelb told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Biden administration is utilizing a think tank funded by left-wing charitable foundations to guide its national gun violence reduction strategy.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) released its Violent Crime Reduction Roadmap Monday, a collection of resources meant to “assist local jurisdictions in developing, implementing, and evaluating the right set of strategies to prevent, intervene in, and respond to acts of community gun violence.” The DOJ said the strategies presented in the roadmap are based on a report produced by the “nonpartisan” Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ), a think tank that received around $3 million from left-of-center organizations like the Ford Foundation, Arnold Ventures, The Pew Charitable Trusts, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Just Trust and the David Rockefeller Fund between 2020 and 2022, according to tax filings.
The DOJ produced the roadmap in response to what it called “substantial increases in community gun violence” occurring across the country.
While violent crime has declined modestly since the initial spike that followed the George Floyd-inspired racial justice movement, rates remain above pre-pandemic levels in many Democrat-run cities, according to a CCJ study.
Homicide rates remained 24% higher in 2023 than they were in 2019 across the 30 cities that reported data to CCJ. Some crimes, like motor vehicle theft and drug use, increased further in 2023 according to the study.
The DOJ roadmap is based on actions recommended by the CCJ such as heightened community engagement, targeted investments to reduce crime and implementing diversity initiatives in police forces to improve retention, among other things.
“As murder and other violent crimes spiked in 2021, we assembled a nonpartisan group of police leaders and community violence experts to examine what was driving the trend and how best to address it,” CCJ President Adam Gelb told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “They produced a comprehensive 10-point strategy for enforcement and prevention that can help reduce bloodshed in American communities.”
Some of the organizations that fund the CCJ promote initiatives to embed racial justice in the criminal justice system, shorten the amount of time criminals spend in jail and reduce the number of people put in jails after committing crimes.
“We are grateful for the support we have received from organizations and individuals across the ideological spectrum who are committed to evidence-based approaches to improving safety and justice,” Gelb told the DCNF. “Our policy task forces are established by our team, and funders have no opportunity to influence their findings or recommendations.”
A spokesperson for the MacArthur Foundation echoed the CCJ, telling the DCNF that it is “not involved in decisions or recommendations its experts make.”
CCJ got at least $1.3 million from left-of-center sources in 2021, making up 20.3% of all grants received by the organization that year, according to its 2021 tax forms.
Some of the recommendations and resources offered in the DOJ’s report reflect the priorities of CCJ’s left-wing foundation donors.
One such resource provided by the DOJ was a 2023 report on improving retention for law enforcement agencies. The report recommends that law enforcement “recruit for diversity” and to “address diversity, equity and inclusion” to improve performance.
Specifically, the report advises agencies to commit to having 30% of their recruits be female by 2030, to “ensure the skill sets possessed by officers from diverse backgrounds are considered as part of the promotional process” and address policies “that may erect barriers to establishing a culture of equity and inclusion.”
The DOJ also recommends law enforcement “emphasize healing with trauma-informed approaches” to address violent crime, directing law enforcement agencies to the Health Alliance for Violence Intervention, a “network builds and connects violence intervention programs and promotes equity for victims of violence,” to help them achieve this action.
Health Alliance for Violence says “racism is a public health crisis and a root cause of community violence” and promises to work toward “enacting policies and practices that advance equity, eliminate structural racism, and return power and resources to people of color.”
The DOJ also touted the recent availability of grant funding to improve racial equity through prosecutorial reform. Some grants highlighted by the DOJ intended to help prosecutors “reduce crime and increase public safety” by developing tools to increase racial equity in the criminal justice process.
Not every recommendation issued by the DOJ had to do with racial justice or diversity.
The DOJ also recommended that law enforcement agencies “invest in anti-violence workforce development,” “engage key people with empathy and accountability” and “set aside funding for new stakeholders and strategies,” among other things.
CCJ’s funders have supported racial justice initiatives similar to those found in the DOJs roadmap.
Arnold Ventures, a for-profit philanthropy outfit and one of the largest funders of the CCJ, donated $175,075 to the Bail Project between 2018 and 2019, according to its grant database. It also gave more than $2.3 million to CCJ between 2020 and 2024.
The Bail Project is a group that bonds people out of jail. The organization’s Indianapolis chapter bailed out a man with an extensive criminal history who went on to commit a homicide in 2021, Fox 59 reported.
Arnold Ventures has also poured millions into other efforts promoting racial equity in the criminal justice system, according to its grant database.
The organization, for example, gave $512,500 to the University of Pittsburgh in 2022 to “support the advancement of racially equitable policies and practicies [sic] in prosecutors’ offices.” One of the grants Arnold Ventures gave to the CCJ was to aid it in “identifying reforms that can safely reduce incarceration and racial disparities.”
The Ford Foundation, another major supporter of the CCJ, has been working to reduce the number of people sent to prison in light of “the disproportionate and brutal impact of the criminal justice system on poor, Black and Latinx communities.” The foundation doesn’t focus on reducing the number of crimes committed but rather on reducing the number of convicts sentenced to prison, according to its website.
The Ford Foundation gave the CCJ $200,000 in 2021 “for research and communications … to simultaneously reduce racial and ethnic disparities and correctional populations,” according to the organization’s tax filing.
Pew Charitable Trusts, another of the CCJ’s backers, boasts about working on “reducing admissions to and the length of time people spend in jail” and “identifying and reforming policies and practices that contribute to disparities based on gender, race, class, ability, and ethnicity.”
The MacArthur Foundation, similarly, funded a program dedicated to reducing jail populations across the country by 50% by 2025. Cities that received funding to reduce their incarcerated populations saw significant increases in violent crime.
The DOJ, Pew Charitable Trusts, the David Rockefeller Fund, the Ford Foundation, Just Trust and Arnold Ventures did not respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.
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