POLL: 95% Of Americans Support Criminal Justice Reform

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The vast majority of Americans support some type of criminal justice reform, a new Associated Press (AP)/NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll shows. 

The Tuesday poll found that 95% of Americans were in favor of some type of reform; 29% of respondents supported a “complete overhaul” of the criminal justice system, 40% wanted “major changes,” and 25% supported “minor changes,” while only 5% did not think the system needed to be changed, according to an Associated Press report

The poll, which was conducted between June 11 and June 15, surveyed 1,301 American adults with a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percentage points. (RELATED: Legal Expert Says Trump’s Police Reform EO Takes ‘Positive Steps In The Right Direction’)

Responses differed based on race and political affiliation, according to the report. Black Americans were more likely to support a complete system overhaul than white Americans, with 57% of black respondents saying they were in favor of a system overhaul compared to 26% of white respondents. 

More white Americans said they supported major changes to the criminal justice system – 39% of white respondents supported major changes compared to 35% of black respondents.

Democrats were more supportive of criminal justice reform than Republicans, but the vast majority of people in both parties supported some sort of change. 98% of Democrats and 94% of Republicans said they were in favor of reforms; 44% of Democrats said they wanted a complete overhaul of the system, while only 12% of Republicans agreed. 

Republicans were more inclined to support minor changes with 47% saying they support the measure compared to just 9% of Democrats, the Associated Press reported.

The poll also found that the majority of Americans “strongly favored” several methods of police reform, including requiring body cameras, establishing clear standards for the use of force, requiring officers to report misconduct by their colleagues, prosecuting officers who use excessive force and penalizing police for racially biased policing.

The most popular reform was requiring body cameras, which 71% of Americans said they strongly favored and 88% said they supported. Reducing focus on policing low-level offenses and reducing funding for law enforcement were the only two reforms on this list that did not receive majority support, according to the Associated Press. 

Despite some activists calling to defund and abolish the police during recent protests, reducing funding for law enforcement was the most strongly opposed reform listed, with 53% saying they were in opposition.

The poll comes at a time where criminal justice and police reform are central in American politics. The death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a police officer kneeled on his neck for over 8 minutes, sparked nationwide protests about police brutality and race relations.