Policing and prisons are held up as the only solution, the only ways to control problems and create safety. One positive way to talk about what we do is to challenge that idea by talking to people about what really make our communities safe.

What else makes safety?

Talk to people about:

  • housing
  • meaningful jobs
  • self-determination
  • a clean environment
  • being able to resist police control
  • anything that makes people feel safer or that they imagine might make people in their communities feel safer

Even in communities that are most affected by the PIC, people often still support policing and imprisonment and feel safe because of them. This shouldn’t limit talking about OTHER THINGS that create safety, and moving the conversation to talk about positive things that can create increased safety and that maybe longer lasting over time.

Sometimes it helps to talk about the limits people face coming home from prison and to show the consequences of people not having access to resources. Do former prisoners have access to the safety when they come home? It can be really helpful to get people to talk about what makes them feel safest–and where you (the facilitator) can see patterns that speak to things other than police & prisons–create a discussion about how to create more of that kind of safety in a community or home. It is important to help people realize the most immediate things they can do:

  • find out who in the neighborhood can provide jobs to people
  • find out where resources are for former prisoners or other people who need resources to survive and circulate the information
  • have neighborhood activities (block parties, cookouts) that can get people together and give people a space to talk over concerns

These can help it seem more do-able, since the idea of creating better jobs, housing, education, resources can be too much to take in all at once.

Ask people to image what makes them feel safe and build a project or vision based on finding ways to create that safety. Help the group brainstorm one idea they can put into action.