Recent years have seen an explosion of protest against police brutality and repression. Among activists, journalists and politicians, the conversation about how to respond and improve policing has focused on accountability, diversity, training, and community relations. Unfortunately, these reforms will not produce results, either alone or in combination. The core of the problem must be addressed: the nature of modern policing itself.
This book attempts to spark public discussion by revealing the tainted origins of modern policing as a tool of social control. It shows how the expansion of police authority is inconsistent with community empowerment, social justice— even public safety. Drawing on groundbreaking research from across the world, and covering virtually every area in the increasingly broad range of police work, Alex Vitale demonstrates how law enforcement has come to exacerbate the very problems it is supposed to solve.
In contrast, there are places where the robust implementation of policing alternatives—such as legalization, restorative justice, and harm reduction—has led to a decrease in crime, spending, and injustice. The best solution to bad policing may be an end to policing.
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About the Author
Alex S. Vitale is Professor of Sociology and Coordinator of the Policing and Social Justice Project at Brooklyn College. His writings about policing have appeared in the New York Times, New York Daily News, USA Today, the Nation, and Vice News. He has made appearances on NPR and NY1.
Table of Contents
1 The Limits of Police Reform 1
2 The Police Are Not Here to Protect You 31
3 The School-to-Prison Pipeline 55
4 "We Called for Help, and They Killed My Son" 76
5 Criminalizing Homelessness 90
6 The Failures of Policing Sex Work 108
7 The War on Drugs 129
8 Gang Suppression 156
9 Border Policing 176
10 Political Policing 197
Further Reading 258
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
As someone interested in a career in law enforcement, I found this book to be both unsettling and enlightening.