Police were never meant to protect and serve me and you. They started as slave catchers hired by wealthy plantation owners. Businesses started the first organized police force in Boston in 1838 to protect their property and safeguard the transport of goods from the port of Boston to other places. These early business owners kept their profits by incentivizing poor white people to turn against enslaved black people and side with the rich who steal from us all. And the first American prisons started as work camps for newly freed slaves. Police and prisons, since their founding, have always been about safety for the haves while wreaking havoc for the have-nots.
Plantation owners have turned into prison owners. Private corporations like Florida’s GEO Group make billions of dollars off of caging us. Everything from probation, bail, prison cells, detention and deportation centers, phone calls, food services, and ankle bracelets are privately owned and profited from under Florida’s prison system.
Meanwhile the politicians these private prisons give campaign contributions to pass harder-on-crime laws and harsh immigration policies to make their friends happy and keep the cash rolling in. All while telling us our counties, cities and towns don’t have money for our schools or parks or jobs. But they sure do find funds for police.
We deserve better.
Police and prisons have no place in “justice”. Police and prisons aren’t just racist but they work to enforce the separations of rich and poor. True safety can’t be found where it was never meant to be. We deserve real safety in our cities, our states, our homes, our schools; our workplaces, and our community centers.
By virtue of being born, each of us has the absolute right to people-centered humane justice, mediation, resolution and violence prevention, an end to the current prison and policing system including immediate banning of bail and probation and reinvestment of the money spent on prisons and police into social services in our community that address the root causes of poverty and violence.