The current approach to public safety is not working — for children, for families, and particularly for Black and brown communities that have been devastated by mental health crises, substance use health crises, and criminalization. We must dismantle our public safety system’s instinct to criminalize and replace it with an instinct to provide care.
The JusticeLA Coalition – a coalition of over 30 grassroots organizations – stopped Los Angeles County’s $3.5 billion jail expansion plan. In 2021, the first supportive housing for houseless people was built on the site of the proposed staging area for the expansion. Dynamic land use projects are currently being designed and implemented as alternatives to incarceration and in the direction of the development of a care-first infrastructure. Read more here.
The National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls works to develop directly impacted women to build hyper-local and community led systems of accountability, safety, and empowerment that includes participatory defense and alternative community safety models. Read more here.
In 2019, Women on the Rise – a collective of formerly incarcerated women – successfully fought for the closure of Atlanta City Detention Center. Now, these same women are working with the City of Atlanta to repurpose the jail into a community-led holistic care center. Read more here.
In 2016, Detroit activists and physicians had an idea: what if gun violence was treated as a public health issue? Detroit Life is Valuable Everyday (DLIVE) was founded as a partnership with Sinai Grace Hospital to provide public health interventions that work holistically to address the trauma of gun violence. Physicians work with violence intervention specialists to create engagement, mentorship, and peer support. Learn more about DLIVE here.
In 2017, Colorado passed legislation that provided $4 million a year to reinvest and reimagine public safety in two cities disproportionately impacted by mass incarceration. The funds resourced a grant program that focused on community-led violence prevention and economic empowerment. Grants were distributed to community-based organizations to develop a range of employment programs, educational support, and create public spaces for people who have been justice impacted. Read more here.
In St. Louis, the Freedom Community Center works to create community safety through a model that centers building collective power through healing and community-based accountability. They work to reinvest in communities that have high rates of violence. Read more here