The Database for Police Abolition (D4PA) is a database-in-progress aiming to track nationwide proposals to defund, disarm, and disempower police departments, and to empower alternatives to policing.
Click around the dashboard to understand which plans are being proposed in your area, and to find examples of proposals from around the country.
Understanding Policing, Incarceration, and Racial Injustice
Law professor Alexander argues that the War on Drugs and policies that deny convicted felons equal access to employment, housing, education, and public benefits create a permanent under caste based largely on race. As the United States celebrates the nation's "triumph over race" with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life. Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate status - much like their grandparents before them. Alexander shows that, by targeting black men and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of color blindness. The New Jim Crow challenges the civil rights community - and all of us - to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.
Criminal justice practices such as policing and imprisonment are integral to the creation of racialized experiences in U.S. society. Race as an important category of difference, however, did not arise here with the criminal justice system but rather with the advent of European colonial conquest and the birth of the U.S. racial state. Race and Crime examines how race became a defining feature of the system and why mass incarceration emerged as a new racial management strategy. This book reviews the history of race and criminology and explores the impact of racist colonial legacies on the organization of criminal justice institutions. Using a macrostructural perspective, students will learn to contextualize issues of race, crime, and criminal justice.
Most people in jail have not been convicted of a crime. Instead, they have been accused of a crime and cannot afford to post the bail amount to guarantee their freedom until trial. Punishing Poverty examines how the current system of pretrial release detains hundreds of thousands of defendants awaiting trial. Tracing the historical antecedents of the US bail system, with particular attention to the failures of bail reform efforts in the mid to late twentieth century, the authors describe the painful social and economic impact of contemporary bail decisions. The first book-length treatment to analyze how bail reproduces racial and economic inequality throughout the criminal justice system, Punishing Poverty explores reform efforts, as jurisdictions begin to move away from money bail systems, and the attempts of the bail bond industry to push back against such reforms. This accessibly written book gives a succinct overview of the role of pretrial detention in fueling mass incarceration and is essential reading for researchers and reformers alike.
In this collection of essays in Semiotext(e)'s Intervention series, Jackie Wang examines the contemporary incarceration techniques that have emerged since the 1990s. The essays illustrate various aspects of the carceral continuum, including the biopolitics of juvenile delinquency, predatory policing, the political economy of fees and fines, cybernetic governance, and algorithmic policing. Included in this volume is Wang's influential critique of liberal anti-racist politics, "Against Innocence," as well as essays on RoboCop, techno-policing, and the aesthetic problem of making invisible forms of power legible. Wang shows that the new racial capitalism begins with parasitic governance and predatory lending that extends credit only to dispossess later. Predatory lending has a decidedly spatial character and exists in many forms, including subprime mortgage loans, student loans for sham for-profit colleges, car loans, rent-to-own scams, payday loans, and bail bond loans. Parasitic governance, Wang argues, operates through five primary techniques: financial states of exception, automation, extraction and looting, confinement, and gratuitous violence. While these techniques of governance often involve physical confinement and the state-sanctioned execution of black Americans, new carceral modes have blurred the distinction between the inside and outside of prison. As technologies of control are perfected, carcerality tends to bleed into society.
Dissertation on overrepresentation of racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S. criminal and juvenile justice systems.
"This study examines the political development and consequences of policies aiming to reduce racial inequalities in the adult and juvenile justice systems. It introduces the concept of "racial disparity reform," or any policy that seeks to diminish unnecessary or adverse criminal processing differences among racial groups. This research argues racial disparity reform is politically possible and consequential in curbing inequalities."
Since the 1980s prison construction and incarceration rates in the U.S. have been rising exponentially, evoking huge public concern about their proliferation, their recent privatisation and their promise of enormous profits. But these prisons house hugely disproportionate numbers of people of colour, betraying the racism embedded in the system, while studies show that increasing prison sentences has had no effect on crime. Here, esteemed civil rights activist Angela Davis lays bare the situation and argues for a radical rethinking of our rehabilitation programmes.
Changes in the American religious landscape enabled the rise of mass incarceration. Religious ideas and practices also offer a key for ending mass incarceration. In the era of mass incarceration, we have largely forgotten how to dream - and organize - this way. To end mass incarceration we must reclaim this lost tradition. Properly conceived, the movement we need must demand not prison reform but prison abolition. Break Every Yoke weaves religion into the stories about race, politics, and economics that conventionally account for America's grotesque prison expansion of the last half century, and in so doing it sheds new light on one of our era's biggest human catastrophes. By foregrounding the role of religion in the way political elites, religious institutions, and incarcerated activists talk about incarceration, Break Every Yoke is an effort to stretch the American moral imagination and contribute resources toward envisioning alternative ways of doing justice. By looking back to nineteenth-century abolitionism, and by turning to today's grassroots activists, it argues for reclaiming the abolition "spirit."
"It was meant to be a brief description for those who are not as familiar with the framework and orientation of TJ and do not have the time or capacity to read a large, long document. It is not a history of TJ, nor a complete naming of every part of TJ, or even a thorough fleshing out of all that is named here. It is an introductory description of work that can be hard to describe. It is meant to be a starting point, not an end-point. I hope it may be useful for some of you. "
These charts break down the dierence between reformist reforms which continue or expand the reach of policing, and abolitionist steps that work to chip away and reduce its overall impact. As we struggle to decrease the power of policing there are also positive and pro-active investments we can make in community health and well-being.
You Can't Stop the Revolution is a vivid participant ethnography conducted from inside of Ferguson protests as the Black Lives Matter movement catapulted onto the global stage. Sociologist Andrea S. Boyles offers an everyday montage of protests, social ties, and empowerment that coalesced to safeguard black lives while igniting unprecedented twenty-first‑century resistance. Focusing on neighborhood crime prevention and contentious black citizen-police interactions in the context of preserving black lives, this book examines how black citizens work to combat disorder, crime, and police conflict. Boyles offers an insider's analysis of cities like Ferguson, where a climate of indifference leaves black neighborhoods vulnerable to conflict, where black lives are seemingly expendable, and where black citizens are held responsible for their own oppression. You Can't Stop the Revolution serves as a reminder that community empowerment is still possible in neighborhoods experiencing police brutality and interpersonal violence.
What is African American about African American literature? Why identify it as a distinct tradition? John Ernest contends that too often scholars have relied on naive concepts of race, superficial conceptions of African American history, and the marginalization of important strains of black scholarship. With this book, he creates a new and just retelling of African American literary history that neither ignores nor transcends racial history.
Ernest revisits the work of nineteenth-century writers and activists such as Henry "Box" Brown, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Wilson, William Wells Brown, and Sojourner Truth, demonstrating that their concepts of justice were far more radical than those imagined by most white sympathizers. He sheds light on the process of reading, publishing, studying, and historicizing this work during the twentieth century. Looking ahead to the future of the field, Ernest offers new principles of justice that grant fragmented histories, partial recoveries, and still-unprinted texts the same value as canonized works. His proposal is both a historically informed critique of the field and an invigorating challenge to present and future scholars.
The Little Book of Race and Restorative Justice by Fania E. Davis
Publication Date: 2019-04-16
This timely work will inform scholars and practitioners on the subjects of pervasive racial inequity and the healing offered by restorative justice practices. Addressing the intersectionality of race and the US criminal justice system, social activist Fania E. Davis explores how restorative justice has the capacity to disrupt patterns of mass incarceration through effective, equitable, and transformative approaches. Eager to break the still-pervasive, centuries-long cycles of racial prejudice and trauma in America, Davis unites the racial justice and restorative justice movements, aspiring to increase awareness of deep-seated problems as well as positive action toward change.
We Charge Genocide 1951 petition to the United Nations from Chicago-based activists organizing against police violence is an important read for those looking to understand the deep roots of anti-carceral organizing on police violence.
The co-editors at the Abusable Past have compiled this list to provide readers with quick access to collected resources for teaching, learning, and acting in the wake of the most recent wave of police killings, including the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN, Breona Taylor in Louisville, KY, and Tony McDade in Tallahassee, FL. This list is not comprehensive as there are multiple ways to contextualize this current moment of rebellion. We hope to collaborate around a practice of self-study towards a freer world. We welcome suggestions for additional resources, which you can tweet to us @AbusablePast or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Duke University Press: Our syllabi series highlights articles, books, and journal issues that encourage discussion of today’s most pressing issues. Selections in this syllabus explore and criticize police violence in both contemporary and historical contexts. Topics include the militancy of policing, Black Lives Matter, carceral technologies, gender, and more.