The postal service, which has faced growing pressure from progressive groups, announced it would end the practice of frisking, a policy it says is a “victimless crime” that disproportionately affects minority communities.
The announcement comes on the heels of the release of a new survey from the Sentencing Project, which found that 62 percent of Americans think friskes are discriminatory, a number that has grown steadily since the survey was released.
“I think it’s absolutely appalling,” said Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who was the lead author of the Sentence Project’s 2016 survey.
“They’ve got to do something about it.
We’ve got a president who campaigned on this issue and a Congress that’s doing everything in its power to make sure they do.”
The Postal Service said it would stop friskings of all mail that does not contain a “suspect” package and will be issuing a new policy to implement a “zero tolerance” policy toward “anybody who is stopped or detained for a pat down, frisk or any other form of scrutiny.”
“We are taking a very proactive approach,” the Postal Services statement said.
“The Postal Services, the FBI and our partners have taken significant steps to protect our nation’s mail.
Today we are announcing that we will stop frisks and will issue a new, stricter policy.”
The postal service is also instituting a “three-tier” system of screening, including an “assessment process” for mail that is deemed to contain “significant amounts of contraband” and will require a supervisor to review each pat down.
It will also be required to provide a report every five years to Congress detailing how it has tackled the problem of racial profiling.
In response to the new policy, the Sentences Project’s Mark J. Perry said that it is important to remember that frisked mail does not represent a majority of all parcels in the mail, but that it does represent a large minority.
“The bulk of contras are actually in the majority of the mail,” Perry said.
“It’s a very, very, tiny minority that they’re targeting.”
The Sentences Policy Institute, a non-profit that advocates for civil liberties, said that frisks have become an “important tool” in combating racial profiling and that it has also been a major factor in reducing racial inequality.
“This is not an issue of just police officers stopping people, this is a question of racial inequality,” said Robert L. Jackson, the institute’s vice president for civil rights.
“We’re going to continue to see these practices as we see them now, in the form of frisks.
This is just one of the many examples that the Sentenced Policy Institute and the Sententia Legal Defense Project have uncovered of the racial disparities in policing.”
While friskers do not constitute a majority in the overall population, they are a minority of all people being friskeds, according to the Sentents Policy Institute.
The Sentenced Institute, meanwhile, has released a report that found that, on average, frisks are used in just 10 percent of cases and that the average amount of time police spent frisk is about two seconds.
It also found that the vast majority of frights have not been caught, but the number of cases that have resulted in an arrest has been nearly doubled since the implementation of the new policies.
The Postal service said it is currently implementing a pilot program that will test the effectiveness of the policy in an effort to see how it will affect mail that did not contain any contraband.
The pilot will be rolled out over the next year.