How do we reimagine the work of reducing poverty, supporting mental health services, and dealing with trauma to minimize substance abuse and violence, in order to diminish the need for police to step in as an end to those consequences?
Prisons and penitentiaries (derived from the word penitent) were considered by early Christians as a way for people to reflect on their sins in isolation and emerge obedient. Eventually, Schenwar and Law write, the mission of penitence evolved into “the need to establish racialized control.”
In March 2021, we hosted a forum related to our “Transforming Justice” magazine issue. One of the women we talked to was Robin Wonsley Worlobah, who is an advocate for building new systems of community safety beyond policing. Here is some of what she told us.
From 2013 to 2020, women imprisoned while pregnant had not committed a new crime — 77 percent had been incarcerated for a technical violation, such as violating parole by not checking in with a probation officer.