I’m new to this and wondering, why would we defund the police?
- John Oliver gives a good introduction (some explicit language).
- Police: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO), youtube video, June 2020, United States, English In this 30 min intro to defunding the police, John Oliver reviews the racist history of policing, barriers to reform such as police unions and qualified immunity, and makes the case for defunding the police to fund public services. The show ends with Kimberly Jones’ wake-up-call in defense of property destruction during protests, saying black people owe nothing to an anti-black state and society.
I can understand defunding, but abolishing the police?
- Here’s a Black Lives Matter activist’s explanation of what that would mean.
- The Criminal Justice System is Broken: Should the Police be Abolished? ~ video, Fusion, 2017, United States, English. In this 2 minute video, Black Lives Matter activist Janaya Khan explains how we can abolish the whole broken criminal justice system.
- Abolition of police and prisons seems like a really different way of doing things. Here you can learn more about how abolitionists see things.
- Prison Abolition + Prefiguring the World You Want to Live In (start at 1:12) ~ video, Barnard Center for Research on Women, 2014, United States, English. Reina Gosset breaks down the mindset behind abolition, of looking at each person as valuable and capable of growth, and imagining a world where communities heal through by building relationships that use restorative practices to address harm.
- Angela Davis Prisons and Crime ~ video, Shut Youth Prisons, 2017, United States, English. Short video of Angela Davis explaining how invisible the prison system has become to anyone who doesn’t interact with it.
How would investing in community services like housing, education, jobs and mental health services really prevent “crime?”
- Susan Burton New Way of Life ~ video, The James Irvine Foundation, 2014, United States, English. Susan Burton, a formerly-incarcerated black abolition activist started a program for formerly-incarcerated black women caught in the criminal injustice system. Shows how housing, education, mental health services, and job support are what people need, rather than prisons, and that it costs less than the prison system. “I figured out that I wasn’t a bad person, I was a hurt person. […] It’s much more effective than any prison, any jail, any cage.” Unfortunately features a LAPD cop, but he says the holistic approach does prevent crime.
- Susan Burton (A New Way of Life) ~ video, Encore.org, 2013, United States, English. Susan Burton, a formerly-incarcerated black abolition activist started a program for formerly-incarcerated black women caught in the criminal injustice system. Shows how housing, education, mental health services, and job support are what people need, rather than prisons, and that it costs less than the prison system. “I was astounded that after all of these prison sentences, there was such a more humane way to address everything that was going on with me.” My main concern with this resource is that people who don’t support abolition can see this and think, “we should keep prisons people just need to grow so they don’t do criminal things that get them into prison.”
- What’s Wrong With Community Control of Police? ~ video, Critical Resistance, 2017, United States, English.
- Lara Kiswani, “Developing New Practices to Advance Migrant Justice” ~ video, Critical Resistance, 2018, United States, English.
- Soffiyah Elijah, “State Sanctioned Repression ~ video, Critical Resistance, 2017, United States, English.
- The Struggle to Abolish the Police Is Not New ~ Boston Review, 2020, United States, English. Places the fight for police defunding & abolition in historical context, showing that it is not as “new” or “radical” as some might think.
- Cómo abolir la policía: lecciones de las mujeres revolucionarias de Rojava (en Español) ~ podcast, TerceraVia, 2020, Mexico, Español.
- What Does Police Abolition Mean? ~ article by Derecka Purnell, Boston Review, 2017, United States, English. A Harvard abolitionist student’s response to a letter calling for police reform.
- What Abolitionists Do ~ article by Dan Berger, Mariame Kaba and David Stein, Jacobin magazine, 2017, United States, English. This article describes how the seemingly impossible task of prison & police abolition is actually much more possible than many people might think.
- FAVORITE The Myth of Liberal Policing ~ article by Alex S. Vitale, 2017, United States, English. On how police reform only serves to lend greater legitimacy to the institution of policing.
- Freedom to Thrive: Reimagining Safety and Security in Our Communities ~ report by The Center For Popular Democracy, Law For Black Lives, and BYP100, 2017, United States, English. A report on policing that shows how cities and countless counties continue to rely overwhelmingly on policing and incarceration spending, while under-resourcing less damaging, more fair, and more effective safety initiatives.
- FAVORITE So after we abolish prisons and policing…then what?: A Black Feminist Dialogue ~ video, For Harriet, 2020, United States, English. A dialogue between Kimberly Foster, Derecka Purnell, and Charlene Carruthers on what it means to give up prisons and policing, and what the world would look like afterward.
- Reforms vs. Abolitionist Steps in Policing ~ infographic, Critical Resistance, 2020, United States, English.
- Es tiempo que reconsideremos lo que significa la seguridad en nuestras comunidades ~ article by Jennifer Epps-Addison, El Diario, 2017, United States, Español. Director of the Centro para la Democracia Popular, Jennifer Epps-Addison reviews the issues of police violence against communities of color, public spending on police in some major cities, and opens up the conversation on reaching security through public services
- FAVORITE Is Prison Necessary? Ruth Wilson Gilmore Might Change Your Mind ~ article by Rachel Kushner, New York Times, 2019, United States, English. A feature on Ruthie Wilson Gilmore, prominent abolitionist and activist whose visionary clarity of a world without prisons has brought many hearts and minds to the movement.
- FAVORITE Mariame Kaba on how to abolish prisons ~ podcast, NBC, 2019, United States, English. Chris Hayes interviews Mariame Kaba about the urge to punish, restorative justice and how we can abolish prisons.
- Justice in America Episode 20: Mariame Kaba and Prison Abolition ~ podcast, The Appeal, 2019, United States, English. Interview with Mariame Kaba on imagining the future of the system and more.
- FAVORITE ¿Por qué abolir las prisiones? ~ video, Mujeres Libertarias Fundiendo Rejas, April 2020, Colombia, Spanish, Portuguese, English. Powerful testimonies about prison abolition, critiques of patriarchal punitive criminal justice system, and alternatives to police and prisons, from formerly-incarcerated women from across Latin America and the US. Also includes some suggestions for reform (not just abolition) such as ankle-monitors and more humane prisons.
- ¿Por qué abolir la policía y las prisiones? ¿Cuáles alternativas hay? En este video, mujeres de todas partes de las américas comparten sus pensamientos sobre estos temas.
- Mujeres libertarias, fundiendo rejas ~ Podcast and short article, Mujeres Libertarias Fundiendo Rejas, July 2020, Colombia, Spanish. Talks a bit about the gathering in Colombia that produced the video above. Could include this link for people who are curious and want to learn more. Podcast–haven’t had time to listen through.
- FAVORITE Construyendo un Futuro Libre de Policía: Preguntas Frecuentes ~ article with resources, MPD150, last updated June 2020, United States, Spanish. (English also available) Incredible overview of what abolition is and main questions/fears people have about abolishing the police.
- FAVORITE ¿Vale la pena quitarle dinero a la policía para apoyar temas como la vivienda, la educación y la salud? ~ article by Brentin Mock, Univision, 2017, United States, Español. Thorough summary of report by the Center for Popular Democracy, BYP 100, and Black Law Project about defunding the police. Translation of article from CityLab, here in English.
- Esta guía analiza esas preguntas.
- Reflexiones para un mundo sin policía ~ zine, AWWP, 2016, United States, Español. Translation of the English text, “Reflections for a world without police.” Gives an anti-racist, anti-capitalist critique of police, with an overview of history and fairly in-depth analysis of strategies to disempower, disarm and dissolve the police with community-defense and other alternatives.
- Angela Davis y las carceles ~ article, Cronica Global, 2016 United States, Español.