We admitted ~20M ppl to prison since 1980, and raised daily prison count by over ONE MILLION (from 300K to 1.5M).
That’s going to do SOMETHING.
But do it WELL? Well…
I mean... yeah... I guess.
But maybe try an antibiotic first?
Prison is like chopping off the arm: blunt and vicious.
There were a lot of better options.
It gets (mis)cited, too often, for the claim “see, Blacks wanted tough policing too.”
But the story is the nuance: they wanted that... at that moment. To create needed space for far more humane ways to stabilize unstable communities.
• Non-police street work like Cure Violence.
• Medicaid Expansion and drug treatment.
• Restorative Justice programs like Common Justice.
None of what I listed should be “the alternative to prison.”
PRISON should be “the alternative” when all else fails.
So maybe policing is necessary in the short run, but our thinking should ALWAYS emphasize the need to build up communities so policing isn’t so central.