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October 2021 | Executive Session on the Future of Justice Policy What Makes a city safe: viable community safety strategies that do not rely on police or prisons

Overview

Divesting from law enforcement is not merely compatible with reducing interpersonal violence in communities; it is necessary. To understand why, we must consider the sources of violence.

In the year since police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd, people across the country have called to “defund the police.” At the same time, many major urban centers have experienced an uptick in violence, including fatal shootings, increasing the urgency of demands for neighborhood safety. Public debate often pits these trends against one another, suggesting that defunding the police isn’t possible because pressing safety challenges require more police. Until we as a society decide to invest in structural solutions, inequity will continue fueling the fire of violence like a hose full of gasoline. This is the starting place for any conversation about public safety: exploring ways to keep people alive by creating a society that protects all of its members.

Authors
Experts - Amanda Alexander b
Amanda Alexander Founder & Executive Director, Detroit Justice Center
Experts - Danielle Sered b-min
Danielle Sered Founder & Executive Director, Common justice
Amanda Alexander on Collective Power

In this video, Amanda Alexander discusses the power of personal and community connection to create protection from structural inequity and violence.

Danielle Sered on Violence Abolition

In this video, Danielle Sered discusses the ways in which addressing violence can serve as a means to end our use of incarceration in the United States. 

What won't work: Policing and incarceration

 

 

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1. Leads to large scale structural harm while simultaneously treating violence as though it were discrete, individual behavior.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2. Exacerbate inequity and curtail opportunity—both in their immediate application and in the unending collateral consequences that attach to convictions.

 

 

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3. Statistically drive crime and violence.

 

 

 

What will work: Community Power

 

 

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1. Political power includes the power to define what constitutes safety and to choose the methods to achieve it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2. Narrative power is about centering the stories of our culture as determinants of what we will do collectively.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3. Economic power through redirecting money as a pathway out of violence.