Video: Former cop, police abolitionist?!

The concept of police and prison abolition is scary for a lot of people. We’re taught that police are what keep society together, by upholding order and solving crimes. The reality is that the order they uphold tends to mean chaos for those at the bottom, and if we think that social harmony is a goal worth fighting for, the current law enforcement system is counter-productive. We can do better. This video is an approachable intro the topic, from someone who worked as a cop.


  1. says

    Unfortunately, we do need prisons, in order to contain dangerous people — murderers, abusers, rapists, child molesters — and keep everybody else safe from them.
    Or would you rather we just kill them on sight?

  2. says

    Nobody has ever proposed we do nothing to restrict those who present a danger to others.

    The goal is to radically change how we do it, and to focus a lot more on rehabilitation, rather than punishment.

    It’s similar to how police abolition doesn’t mean getting rid of all first responders, or even armed first responders.

    In both cases, the goal is to end the institutions we’ve been saddled with by history, and build something better.

    Nobody is proposing we just open the prisons, fire all the cops, and change nothing else.

  3. says

    Nobody is proposing we just open the prisons, fire all the cops, and change nothing else.

    …except Republicans, who are indeed enacting tax cuts that result in cops, firefighters and sometimes even judges getting laid off. That’s who’s really defunding the police.

  4. marner says

    His manner of speaking grated on me a bit so I didn’t watch the whole thing, but sure, I agree with the basic premise. Cerate a better society where people don’t want to harm themselves or others. Sending an openly armed response (and even worse an armed mindset) to someone in mental crisis is counterproductive. I would much rather that someone be happy and productive then miserable and in prison.
    I just wish that whoever comes up with terms like abolish police/prisons would speak to someone in marketing first. The person in the video and you had to explain that what we are saying is not exactly what we mean.

  5. says

    Marner – the problem is that most of the proposals for more “marketable” slogans require us to lie about our intentions, which seems counter-productive.

    Better to do the slower, harder work of conveying the actual message.

  6. says

    I think the concerns people have about police/prison abolition are valid, but I also think there’s a degree to which people seem inclined to imagine the most unreasonable version of whatever is being proposed.

    I don’t know a way to introduce a new idea into the general consciousness beyond generating conversation about it, and explaining. If changing minds is my goal – which is what would be needed to make a society that’s even capable of prison abolition – then presenting a misleading but less-offensive slogan would be counter-productive. It’s not like people are going to just go along with prison abolition because they’re not paying close enough attention, you know?

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