Alternatives to Police

Chain Reaction: Alternatives to Policing

Chain Reaction

When police intervene in situations involving youth, ranging from loitering and petty crimes to more severe violence, police involvement typically sets off a chain of events that can have far-reaching effects on a young person’s life.

Chain Reaction is a participatory research and popular education project with the goal of supporting conversations about alternatives to calling police on young people.

Listen to audio or watch videos that feature youth in Chicago telling their own stories about policing, or check out out their toolkit of other resources and curriculum.

1. What is the chain reaction that we would ideally like to create in response to fear, violence, or harm?

2. What resources do we already have in our communities to begin this chain reaction?

3. What alternatives to calling police exist for those considering relying on police interventions with young people?

4. What alternatives would we like to create?



Imagining Alternatives: Finding Ways Not to Call the Police

Open letter to imagine alternatives to incarceration with list of resources below.

“Dear friends, family, acquaintances and people with whom I share house party dance floors and supermarket lines,

A few weeks ago, an acquaintance of mine attended a police lineup, pointed at someone, and sent them to jail or prison. Last night, a friend’s roommate called the cops about something happening outside, and the effect of that action was a young man getting tasered.

So I’ve decided to write you a letter. All of you, but especially those of you who, like myself and the two people mentioned above, are white and/or grew up middle class and/or didn’t grow up in NYC. I’m writing to you, also, if you’ve smiled your way out of a speeding ticket, if you’ve been most afraid of cops at mass protests, or if you generally feel safer when you see police around. If these things are true for you, it’s possible that you are more distanced from the real impact of policing on low-income communities of color. But whether people in your life experience those impacts regularly or not, whether you’ve spent a night in jail, done work to support political prisoners, or haven’t thought much about police brutality since Sean Bell… if you hold a commitment to making the world a better place, I’m writing to you, because there’s work to be done.”


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