By David Cloud and Chelsea Davis for VERA Institute of Justice. Millions of medically vulnerable and socially marginalized people cycle through the criminal justice system each year due to serious structural problems entrenched in American society. The absence of a coherent and effective social safety net means that people lack access to physical and mental health care, social services, and housing options in their communities. This report, First Do No Harm: Advancing Public Health in Policing Practices, details the cultural divide among system actors that amplify and sustain these problems and offers recommendations on how law enforcement policymakers and practitioners—in collaboration with public health officials and harm reduction advocates—can enhance both public safety and community health.

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