Three policy areas — Alternatives to Incarceration, Youth Justice Reimagined, and Violence Intervention — offer a new path forward for jurisdictions across the country aiming to “reimagine” public safety. These policies increase access to services, prevent unnecessary contact with law enforcement, and break cycles of violence through community-based responses to build safer, healthier communities.
Three key frameworks are helpful to understanding these policy agendas and act as anchoring goals through changes in politics and implementation:
1. Creating safety through community health: A public health approach to reducing and preventing violence is multifaceted and seeks to address the root causes of the problem.
2. Repairing individual and systemic harm: Restorative and transformative justice provides nonpunitive approaches to accountability and repairing structural harm.
3. Centering communities closest to the problem: The leadership of communities affected by violence and incarceration must be centered in the design, implementation, and oversight of these policy strategies.
Advocates and policymakers in Los Angeles County are building new infrastructures of care and safety that sit entirely outside of the justice system. While these policy agendas bring great promise, their implementation faces continued challenges. Bold leadership and significant investments are needed to build long-term solutions and truly shift the status quo toward a holistic approach to community health and safety.