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Evidence-Based Policing is Trauma Informed Policing

Trauma-informed care is an approach used to engage people with histories of trauma. It recognizes the presence of trauma symptoms and acknowledges the role that trauma can play in people’s lives. Trauma-informed criminal justice responses can help to avoid re-traumatizing individuals. This increases safety for all, decreases the chance of an individual returning to criminal behavior, and supports the recovery of justice-involved women and men with serious mental illness. Partnerships across systems can also help link individuals to trauma-informed services and treatment.

Why are trauma-informed approaches to criminal justice essential? When justice professionals learn about trauma, they can respond in ways that avoid re-traumatizing, ensure safety of all, reduce recidivism, and promote recovery. Learning about trauma helps to ease management, helps keep people out of the justice system, and helps staff do their jobs. For law enforcement officials, trauma-informed policing practices that enhance officers’ understanding of trauma and its effects can facilitate criminal investigations through a greater awareness of a victim’s needs, reduce the potential recurrence of criminal behavior through early intervention and community trust in police, and connect traumatized individuals to appropriate community services and supports.

Renée J. Mitchell has served in the Sacramento Police Department for nineteen years and is currently a Police Sergeant. She was the 2009/2010 Fulbright Police Research Fellow, where she attended the University of Cambridge Police Executive Program and completed research in the area of juvenile gang violence at the London Metropolitan Police Service. She is the President of the American Society of Evidence-Based Policing. Below is her TED Talk, “Policing Needs to Change: Trust me I’m a Cop” where she advocates for evidence-based policing.

Trauma-Informed Response Training for Criminal Justice Professionals.

The GAINS Center has developed training for criminal justice professionals to raise awareness about trauma and its effects. “How Being Trauma-Informed Improves Criminal Justice System Responses” is a half-day training for criminal justice professionals to:

  • Increase understanding and awareness of the impact of trauma

  • Develop trauma-informed responses

  • Provide strategies for developing and implementing trauma-informed policies

This highly interactive training is specifically tailored to community-based criminal justice professionals, including police officers, community corrections personnel, and court personnel.

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