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Jackson Weighs in on Police Reform vs. Abolition on MSNBC’s 'The Mehdi Hasan Show'

February 13, 2023


Jenn M. Jackson

Jenn M. Jackson

Police reform is back in the national conversation in the wake of Tyre Nichols’ death after being arrested by Memphis Police. And while several cities, like Camden, New Jersey, have had some success with reform, some advocates say it’s not enough. Jenn Jackson, assistant professor of political science weighs in on whether or not we need to go beyond reform and "abolish" the police. 

"It starts with understanding whether or not we believe the issues with police are systemic or individual," says Jackson. "We know that Chicago, for instance, has a line item in the budget for people coming forward to say they’ve been tortured or abused by police. So how do we think about something like reform in a place where they’ve already accounted for the fact that police are going to act outside of their jurisdiction and harm people in the community," they say.

"So for a lot of activists and organizers on the ground, when we talk about abolishing, our idea of abolishing police stems from the idea that there has to be different forms of service and care that allow for communities to take care of themselves and not rely on the police for the whole host of services that they currently provide," Jackson says. "If there’s a mental health issue in the community like what happened with Antonio LeGrier, maybe not calling the police but calling some people who are actually trained and have the expertise to address that issue and will not escalate the situation by introducing violence and guns," they say.

Watch the full interview on MSNBC's The Mehdi Hasan Show, "Beyond Police Reform: Is it time to 'Abolish' Police?" (Jackson's interview begins at 5:40)

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