On January 12, 2017, the United States Department of Justice and the City of Baltimore adopted a settlement agreement, known as a consent decree, governing changes to policing in Baltimore. On February 2, 2017, representatives from the Department of Justice and Baltimore City officials assured U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar that they remain committed to enforcing that agreement. But will Attorney General nominee Senator Jeff Sessions commit to the consent decree’s enforcement?

The consent decree was the culmination of a Department of Justice investigation into the Baltimore City Police Department, an investigation triggered by the death of Freddie Gray in police custody in April 2015 and the uprisings that followed. The investigation was wide-ranging, looking not just at police misuse of force, but a number of other deficits in policing alleged by the citizens of Baltimore. Included in those complaints was the contention that Baltimore City Police engaged in gender biased policing. The Department of Justice ultimately found evidence of gender bias in the Baltimore City Police Department’s handling of sexual assault cases: in the treatment of victims of sexual assault, particularly transgender victims, and in the failure to adequately investigate reports of sexual assault, including the failure to routinely request testing of rape kits.

The Criminal Justice Area of the Gender Policy Report seeks to clarify how gender works intersectionally to shape the creation, operations, and consequences of criminal justice policies. Contributions to the area might offer a gender-based analysis of criminal codes, law enforcement practices, dynamics of judicial action, or incarceration, for example. Why are women of color the fastest growing population of prisoners in the U.S.? How do developments such as prison privatization matter differently for groups defined by gender, and distinctively for transgender populations? How does the rise of mass incarceration, centered on American Indian, Black, and Chicanx/Latinx males, transform gender relations and affect women and families? On these and many related questions, we hope our area of the GPR will offer a distinctive voice in public discussions of criminal justice policy.