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Mon Jun 8, 2020, 07:31 PM

'Defund The Police. America Needs To Rethink Priorities For Criminal- Justice System'; The Atlantic

'Defund the Police.' America needs to rethink its priorities for the whole criminal-justice system. By Annie Lowrey, The Atlantic, June 5, 2020. [Edited].

What are the police for? Why are we paying for this?

The death of George Floyd and the egregious, unprovoked acts of police violence at the peaceful protests following his death have raised these urgent questions. Police forces across America need root-to-stem changes—to their internal cultures, training and hiring practices, insurance, and governing regulations. Now a longtime demand from social-justice campaigners has become a rallying cry: Defund the police. This is in one sense a last-resort policy: If cops cannot stop killing people, and black people in particular, society needs fewer of them.

But it is also and more urgently a statement of first principles: The country needs to shift financing away from surveillance and punishment, and toward fostering equitable, healthy, and safe communities.

As a general point, the United States has an extreme budget commitment to prisons, guns, warplanes, armored vehicles, detention facilities, courts, jails, drones, and patrols—to law and order, meted out discriminately. It has an equally extreme budget commitment to food support, aid for teenage parents, help for the homeless, child care for working families, safe housing, and so on. It feeds the former and starves the latter. The distinctions are stark when comparing America with its peer nations. The U.S. spends 18.7 percent of its annual output on social programs, compared with 31.2 percent by France and 25.1 percent by Germany. It spends just 0.6 percent of its GDP on benefits for families with children, one-sixth of what Sweden spends and one-third the rich-country average.

It spends far more on health care than these other countries, notably, but for a broken, patchy, and inequitable system, one that leaves people dying without care and bankrupts many of those who do get it.

[Read: Who will hold the police accountable?]

Meanwhile, the U.S. spends twice what Europe does on the military. It spends more on domestic public-safety programs than virtually all of its peer nations..It locks up millions, with an incarceration rate many times that of other NATO countries...Does this spending make the country safer than its peers? No. Violent crime has reduced markedly in the past few decades. But America’s murder rate is still higher than the average among member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and about four times the rate in Canada. The number of rapes, adjusted to the size of the population, is four times higher than it is in Denmark. Robberies are more than twice as common as they are in Poland.

Gun violence is rampant; deaths and injuries from firearms among children are considered “a major clinical and public health crisis.” And Americans absorb far, far more violence from police officers.

A thin safety net, an expansive security state: This is the American way. At all levels of government, the country spends roughly double on police, prisons, and courts what it spends on food stamps, welfare, and income supplements. At the federal level, it spends twice as much on the Pentagon as on assistance programs, and eight times as much on defense as on education. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will ultimately cost something like $6 trillion and policing costs $100 billion a year.
But proposals to end homelessness ($20 billion a year), create a universal prekindergarten program ($26 billion a year), reduce the racial wealth gap through baby bonds ($60 billion a year), and eliminate poverty among families with children ($70 billion a year) somehow never get financed.

All told, taxpayers spend $31,286 a year on each incarcerated person, and $12,201 a year on every primary- and secondary-school student...

Read More, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/06/defund-police/612682/

*Related: 'Light 'Em Up': With Warrior Cops, America's Forever Wars In Distant Lands Have Now Come Home, Written by William Astore / TomDispatch, June 8, 2020. AlterNet.

.."Or think of what’s happening this way: America’s violent overseas wars, thriving for almost two decades despite their emptiness, their lack of meaning, have finally and truly come home. An impoverished empire, in which violence and disease are endemic, is collapsing before our eyes. “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” America’s self-styled wartime president promised, channeling a racist Miami police chief from 1967. It was a declaration meant to turn any American who happened to be near a protest into a potential victim"...

More, https://www.alternet.org/2020/06/light-em-up-with-warrior-cops-americas-forever-wars-in-distant-lands-have-now-come-home/

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Reply 'Defund The Police. America Needs To Rethink Priorities For Criminal- Justice System'; The Atlantic (Original post)
appalachiablue Jun 8 OP
appalachiablue Jun 9 #1

Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Tue Jun 9, 2020, 04:06 PM

1. There are valid points and some good suggestions here,

and a phrase like 'improve the police' could work, and may be a bit less threatening to those who want to go negative on the idea..

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