The Solutions Not Punishment Coalition formed in 2013, responding to the attempt by the Midtown Ponce Security Alliance and the Atlanta Police Department (APD) to pass an ordinance that would increase the criminalization of survival sex workers in Midtown and banish people convicted of survival sex work from the City. Women on the Rise organizers banded together with LaGender, Inc. and Trans(forming) whose leaders had been organizing in trans communities of color for a long time and took banishment off the table – twice.
In the course of the almost three, years since the coalition formed, while we have fought to stop the on-going efforts of criminalization, police harassment, and police violence, we have also been offering concrete solutions that transforms Atlanta’s criminal justice system and reimagines public safety outside of criminalization. The Solutions Not Punishment Campaign is led by the Solutions Not Punishment Coalition (LaGender Inc., Trans(forming), and Women on the Rise), connecting all of the visionary wisdom, deep experience, and bold commitment that resides, works, and grows in the Blue House.
Implement a pre-arrest diversion initiative that keeps our folks out of jail and in our communities with life-affirming and transforming services.
Closing the city jail.
Take laws off the books that are used to forward broken windows policing, starting with idling and loitering.
These demands may seem impossible at first glance. But in our organizing, we have already seen the impossible achieved through our work. On a cold day in December 2015, the Atlanta City Council unanimously voted “YES” to create a design team for a city-based pre-arrest diversion initiative. Some of those same legislators were ready to implement banishment. The following week, Fulton County followed suit with a parallel resolution.
It is not going to be enough to implement a pre-arrest diversion initiative, if we still have laws on the books that work to enforce a model of broken windows policing that encourages racial and gender profiling, criminalizes poverty and mental illness, and locks up people for low-level offenses. It’s not going to be enough to end broken windows policing when we have hundreds of people locked up in the city jail for low-level offenses, not being able to pay their fines, and as a source of revenue through detention holds.
Join us as we build a campaign led by trans and gender non-conforming people of color, formerly incarcerated women of color, and allies that will transform Atlanta.