Social work and diverse models of public safety: Advocating with and on behalf of African American communities

David R. Hodge, Stephanie Clintonia Boddie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

George Floyd’s death sparked an intense national debate about policing practices. In social work, the discussion has generally focused on whether the profession should partner with, or shun, law enforcement. While affirming the need for structural change, this paper suggests a different approach; that social workers should advocate with and on behalf of African American communities to implement a public safety model that reflects their preferences. After discussing how practitioners can facilitate structural reform in this arena, five alternative models of public safety are reviewed to familiarize readers with options that may have some degree of currency with African Americans: (1) reforming existing police departments; (2) increasing community policing; (3) disbanding police departments; (4) abolishing policing; and (5) indigenizing law enforcement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-21
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Sociology and Social Welfare
Volume48
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • African Americans
  • Alternative policing models
  • Police reform
  • Public safety
  • Social justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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