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The Price of “Public Safety”

March 12, 2020

While criminal justice reform has gained more mainstream support in recent years, there is still a long way to go in challenging racial injustice and systemic abuses that pervade communities and the criminal justice system. But Advancement Project National Office is in this for the long haul, litigating, organizing and advocating for #FreeAndSafe communities.

Last week, Advancement Project National Office participated in the National Week Against Incarceration observed by National Lawyers Guild. This year’s #WAMI2020 focused on mass incarceration and the role of policing. This is something we are committed to year round as our Justice Project provides ongoing support to local campaigns and grassroots movements in confronting an abusive criminal justice system that over-criminalizes and over-incarcerates people of color.

With our partners at the Ferguson Collaborative, we found in Ferguson, Missouri, the city allocates as much as 61% of its taxpayers’ dollars to policing its predominantly Black communities. The Ferguson Collaborative has called for more transparent and equitable government processes in the city, especially in the wake of the city council’s vote to the renew the contract of City Manager Jeffrey Blume earlier this month. Blume has had a poor track record of enacting and supporting policies that target and arrest Black, Brown and low-income residents in Ferguson.

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where we have been working with the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Reform Coalition to abolish inhumane prisons, we also found that 61% of the city’s funds are dedicated to its sweeping “public safety” budget.

With our partners at Puente Human Rights Movement in Phoenix, we found that a whopping 70% of its funds are allocated to “public safety” in the city.

Phoenix, Arizona

Advancement Project National Office is reimagining how public safety is pursued as local, state and federal governments too often seek to fortify an oppressive police state in communities of color. We urge you to get involved in the fight for police accountability and decriminalization. Together we can work to advance our bold vision and dismantle a racist carceral state.