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The People’s Bill for Safety and Freedom: A Public Safety and Community Investment Platform

From 2020-2023, The People’s Coalition for Safety and Freedom (PCSF) engaged community members in multiple states in a democratic process—The People’s Process. We drew on their expertise with criminalization, policing, and incarceration to ask: What does freedom and safety look like for us? What do we need to create that vision in our neighbourhoods? From that democratic process, we created The People’s Bill for Safety and Freedom, a proposal for a law that would replace the harmful Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (the 1994 Crime Bill).

PCSF is a coalition of base-building and member-led grassroots organizations and racial justice policy and advocacy organizations, most of which are Black- and queer-led and represent a cross-section of communities impacted by systems of criminalization and incarceration. As part of our efforts to put into reality a vision of real public safety grounded in the expertise and experience of the people most affected by policing and incarceration, we aim to repeal and replace the 1994 Crime Bill with a law that embodies and supports a new vision of public safety that centers investments in community, healing, and restoration.

Our Guiding Values ​​include an understanding that the communities who are closest to the problem should be key in determining the solutions; any policy changes must include proactive provisions that repair harms for everyone impacted; policies and narratives must recognize the full humanity and dignity of our people without divisions, such as “drug seller/user”; and policies must build community infrastructure and facilitate community-controlled and -run alternatives to incarceration and criminalization.

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