We know the punitive path has been a grave policy failure and the solutions should come in the form of programs that will invest resources into communities—not more jails or better-trained police.
In Yale historian Elizabeth Hinton’s new book, she estimates between 1964 and 2001, there were nearly 2,000 often violent rebellions in the name of the Black freedom struggle—rebellions almost always triggered by instances of police violence. Dismissed as “riots,” for the most part, these rebellions have been written out of the history of that freedom struggle, and of the civil rights era
In America on Fire: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion Since the 1960s, Hinton focuses on what she calls the “crucible period of rebellion,” from the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968 to 1972.
Forged in that crucible, Hinton says, was much of what we continue to contend with today: a turn toward punishment as the response to deep-seated social problems, and police forces flooded with public money and able to ramp up the targeting and surveillance of poor communities of color.
As she explains to New Thinking host Matt Watkins of what she calls "the cycle," in labeling Black political violence as criminal, "then the only solution becomes the police, which is exactly the precipitating force that people are rebelling against."
The following is a transcript of the podcast:
Matt WATKINS: Welcome to New Thinking from the Center for Court Innovation. I’m Matt Watkins.
In Elizabeth Hinton’s new book, she estimates between 1964 and 2001, there were nearly 2,000 often violent rebellions in the name of the Black freedom struggle.
Often dismissed as “riots,” these rebellions have been for the most part written out of the history of that freedom struggle and of the civil rights era.
In America on Fire: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion Since the 1960s, Hinton, an historian at Yale, focuses on what she calls the “crucible period of rebellion,” from the assassination of MLK in 1968 to 1972.
Forged in that crucible, Hinton says, was much of what we contend with today: a turn toward punishment as the response to social problems, and police forces flooded with public money and able to ramp up the targeting and surveillance of poor communities of color.
Hinton’s argument places the roots of mass incarceration in the liberal 1960s. To talk about that, and about what people organizing today against police violence can learn from her work, I reached Elizabeth Hinton at her home, as part of her virtual book tour.
WATKINS: Thanks so much for being here, congrats on the book, it’s just really a treat to get to talk to you.
Elizabeth HINTON: Thanks so much for having me, Matt. I’m super excited for this conversation.
WATKINS: So, a lot of the book, America On Fire, is set in the late 1960s into the early seventies, and it's this period of really often very violent rebellion in the name of the Black freedom struggle. It's your argument that that aspect of the struggle has been largely forgotten.
Yet you open the book in 1960 at one of the most iconic moments of the civil rights era, the Greensboro lunch counter sit-in. I'm wondering what the point you were trying to make was in starting the book there?
HINTON: The 1960s opened with a completely nonviolent sit-in at a Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, by North Carolina A&T students at the historically Black college there—essentially set off the sit-in movement that quickly spread across the Southern states.
By 1969, A&T students were literally battling police officers as part of a larger movement to help high school students at a majority Black high school in Greensboro get more equal protections from school authorities and the response to Black demands with police. Of course, that was the response earlier in the sixties. By the end of the decade, students were now responding by throwing rocks and bottles back at police. Students were getting teargassed by police.
This spiraled quickly into this really exceptional incident of police violence and repression against A&T students yet again at the end of the decade. So Greensboro itself and the protests at A&T really capture some of these larger transitions within the Black freedom struggle, but also what happens by the end of the 1960s in the era of the War on Crime, when police are increasingly the solution to socioeconomic problems and the demands of the Black freedom movement.
WATKINS: I guess it seems to me this contrast between the nonviolent Greensboro sit-ins in 1960, and then the more violent protests and clashes with police in the late sixties, that you're making an argument about political actors throughout the decade changing what they thought was possible at a given time and what tactics were available to them for success at a given time.
HINTON: Exactly. There's an important shift that we see in terms of the protest tactics that are adopted, especially by young Black people within the civil rights and freedom struggle. We see this increasing throughout the decade, but especially after Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination in April 1968, there's a real transition or shift from the politics of nonviolence as being the guiding force of the civil rights struggle to the politics of self-defense.
The A&T students saw themselves as defending themselves and protecting the high school students in Greensboro from both police violence, but from, in addition, complacency from authorities.
So absent changes—fundamental changes in living conditions for poor Black Americans, especially after decades of nonviolent protest—increasingly violent tactics seemed to be the most logical response. I think especially for the younger generations, high school students, junior high school students, college students who watched the civil rights movement unfold throughout their childhoods during the sixties with such hope, to come at the end to see again that so many promises had been unfulfilled, is part of the reason why rebellion actually becomes more prevalent in the years immediately following Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination.
WATKINS: In some ways you're saying that the turn to more violent tactics—though, at pretty much every point, it's initiated by police violence—but that turn to violent tactics is happening in part because of the failures of that earlier era, which is not the usual story we're told about the civil rights era.
HINTON: That was something that was really difficult for me to actually come to terms with, really trying to evaluate, “well, what did the civil rights movement do and not do?” The civil rights movement opened up new—that Woolworth sit-in was successful, it opened up new avenues for consumption for Black people. It expanded educational opportunities for Black students. It created a Black middle class.
But it didn't fundamentally address the socioeconomic inequalities in American society, namely unemployment throughout the sixties, and still today, the Black unemployment is nearly double that of white unemployment rates, failing public school systems that are underfunded, and housing precarity. These were the primary issues shaping the civil rights movement which is, of course, part of a larger drive for political and economic inclusion, full political and economic inclusion.
By the end of the sixties, these larger goals still hadn't been achieved. I think we often forget that the march on Washington in '63 was the march for jobs and freedom. And the embrace of violent tactics, in cities, one thing that is important is that these incidents, as you said, were sparked by violent encounters with police. But they all, in every city where they occurred, came after years, decades of nonviolent protests, petitions, lawsuits, et cetera, that had failed to achieve these larger aims.
WATKINS: Then it does feel like a lot of the book is concerned with how the civil rights era gets remembered. And that we're told this very narrow story that focuses on the nonviolence and “Martin Luther King had a dream” and “Rosa Parks got tired and sat down on a bus.” But you are really opening this up into a much more politically awkward story, in some ways, given the violence—not as usable, in that respect.
HINTON: I really appreciate that. It is a story of the shortcomings of the civil rights movement, but also what we've, I think, really failed to recognize: the impact of the rise of the expansion of urban police forces in targeted low-income communities of color, and surveillance that's also unfolding over the decade—certainly the second half of the 1960s.
And in many ways rebellion is a response to these major shifts in domestic policy where the federal government under the banner of the War on Crime begins investing in police and prisons and court systems for the first time in U.S. history following Lyndon Johnson's declaration of the War on Crime in '65.
WATKINS: Which is preceded, of course, as your first book makes the point, by the War on Poverty, which then morphs into this War on Crime.
HINTON: Exactly. That is the backstory here. The structural transformation does not come in the sixties in the form of employment programs and increased educational opportunities. It comes in an employment program for police and new patrol and surveillance strategies that are intended to prevent rebellion and the spread of political violence by militarizing police across the United States, not just in big cities.
That's, I think, one of the really important findings of the book. Even going into writing, the assumption that I had in writing my first book, From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime, is the dominant narrative that the era of urban uprising began in Harlem in '64, and then peaked in 1967 during the long hot summer with Detroit and Newark. Then there were the 100 or so rebellions that erupted after the assassination of King, and then it fizzled out.
The archive that I was able to get access to that inspired this book, shows that actually the peak years of rebellion were after Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, after the enactment of the Safe Streets Act, which was the first major piece of federal Crime Control Policy and marked the official launch of the War on Crime.
So, in many ways, the persistence of rebellion, again, across the United States—in the Rust Belt, Sun Belt, not just in the Northeast, in many Southern cities, including Greensboro—is in many ways a response to these new policing strategies in the absence of the structural transformation that many had hoped for at the outset of the decade.
WATKINS: Having done this work now and unearthed this remarkable number of rebellions that were taking place—I was struck by the fact that there were more rebellions in 1970 than there were even in '68, the year of MLK's assassination—what have you come to understand about the relationship between the nonviolent struggle and the violent struggle, these entwined forces?
HINTON: I think that's one thing that's really important and that even Martin Luther King recognized, that in the history of the Black freedom struggle, there have always been nonviolent and violent strains that have worked together and been critical to any success of the movement.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said that the coercive power of violence was key, because of the threat it posed should the nonviolent demands of the mainstream civil rights movement under his leadership not be met.
I think we also saw the power of violent protests in pushing discussions and policy forward last summer. We've had these conversations about police reform, and the Black Lives Matter movement has been emerging, well, since Trayvon Martin, but really since the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson in 2014.
But it was last summer with the widespread property destruction that we saw and the violent tactics that protesters embraced in some cities that I think have really pushed discussions about police reform forward, that turned systemic racism into a buzzword, and that also generated the repression that we're seeing.
There is a pattern that follows both of these strains of violence. But one of the things that this period really shows is that violent tactics have been key and central to the Black freedom struggle, and that those who embrace—and this is the reason why I'm really pushing back on terminology and using rebellion to describe this political violence—we need to take the grievances of the people who are engaging in these tactics seriously if we want to address them, address the underlying root causes in meaningful ways.
WATKINS: It's very convenient to the power structure to call these “riots” and to say these are simply criminals, or even worse this is some pathology inherent to the Black community, because then you are depoliticizing these events. These are actors making structural demands in response to structural problems that, we're speaking on Juneteenth, go back to 1619, for heaven's sake.
HINTON: And in labeling this form of political violence as criminal, then the only solution becomes the police, which is exactly the precipitating force that people are rebelling against. So, we've been stuck in this policy cycle that, when these incidents happen, the response on the part of political and economic authorities is greater police penetration, the escalation of crime control programs, and calls for law and order.
This is one of the big lessons of both of my books that this strategy has been a failed one. There have been consistently opportunities where alternatives were presented, where a different path could have been taken. And yet the post-civil rights urban domestic policy road has been one of punitiveness.
WATKINS: We've talked a little bit about the Black violent rebellions, but I was also really struck in the book by how much violence against Black people was happening in the sixties. We're not just talking about law enforcement. I think there's a section in there where you're talking about a housing project that was being surrounded by whites at night, just shooting in with gunfire.
HINTON: That was one of the things that was also surprising and difficult to wrestle with in writing the book, just the persistence of white mob violence.
In Cairo, Illinois, and in York, Pennsylvania—two cities where the relationship between the white political establishment and white power gangs or vigilante mobs and law enforcement or police were particularly entangled and entwined, led to really protracted and devastating violence.
The Cairo example for me was the most haunting and chilling. Cairo is a small town of about four thousand-some people by the late sixties, early seventies at the southernmost tip of Illinois, literally below the Mason-Dixon line and resembling a small Southern rural town. But the Black residents in Cairo, who were just under half the population, were essentially locked out of political and economic power and job opportunities in the city.
This is also a moment too where the face of white supremacy has shifted from the KKK mob to a genteel class of white supremacists who are deeply tied to political and economic power.
Throughout the 1960s, the Black residents of Cairo had demanded... Actually, John Lewis went there, there were sit-ins as part of the growing sit-in movement in the early sixties to desegregate the school system and public institutions in Cairo and the swimming pool and the skating rink. And consistently authorities in Cairo refused to do so and just simply closed the skating rink and the swimming pool down rather than actually integrate it.
By the end of the decade, Black residents in Pyramid Courts, which was the segregated housing project where the majority of Black residents in Cairo lived, was essentially under siege by a white vigilante mob known as the White Hats. That was, again, a combination of political and economic elites, local businessmen, district attorneys, police officers, and just ordinary run-of-the-mill white residents who would shoot into the housing project—couple times a month, at least.
In response—and again, this is where the politics of self-defense really come in because the Black residents there in Cairo didn't have protection from the police department; there was no legal recourse—they started shooting back. Of course, the media portrayed much of the struggle in Cairo as these violent Black snipers attacking white residents.
But it was the young children in the Pyramid Courts housing project who had to sleep in bathtubs at night in order to protect themselves from the random gunshots on the part of white vigilantes and police that would come into the project.
At the same time, there was also a boycott launched by a coalition of civil rights groups in Cairo who said, "We're not going to patronize these white businesses,” because there were no businesses in Cairo owned by Black people., “we're not going to patronize white businesses so that the store owners can buy bullets to shoot at us."
This is where the story of Cairo was really a warning to us, because rather than actually cede political and economic power to the Black community, the establishment decided to hold on to its white supremacist power structure. And as a result, their businesses closed, the economy of the town completely tanked, their property values went down, anybody and anyone who could leave Cairo did, their children certainly left.
Now Cairo's a majority Black city, and it's seen by many as a ghost town. Racism killed Cairo, and it affects and hurts all of us. It doesn't benefit, in the end, white people either.
WATKINS: When you look at the violence in Cairo that Black people were subjected to, and often in cahoots with law enforcement, that really, I think, instantiates your argument about what you call “the cycle”—which is about how these rebellions start.
And in a pattern that I think we're familiar with up to the present day, in pretty much every case you found that it's actually police violence that begets the violent reaction. Again, that's part of the narrative that is not told so often.
HINTON: To me, that's obvious, but I think the assumption is that—and again, this goes to the links between Blackness, especially, and criminality—that Black people, that especially poor young Black people, are the perpetrators. And this reflects the general pathological notions about Black people, poverty, and crime. But the actual history of rebellions, the way that they unfold show that forms of police violence are what touched them off.
The lesson is that this, as you said, begets community violence. But it's, of course, tied to all of these other socioeconomic realities and systemic racism. Police themselves are the most tangible expression of systemic racism, which is why incidents of police violence end up setting off this political violence that is, of course, tied to a much larger set of grievances.
WATKINS: I don't know if you say it explicitly in the book, but it feels like you're saying that police violence is the short-term trigger to these long-term underlying causes.
HINTON: In part, because police, again, during this critical period where social welfare programs are being disinvested from beginning as early as 1965.
WATKINS: Or are being defunded, I guess you could say.
HINTON: Yeah, exactly. …are being defunded and police programs are being funded. Police become the frontline representatives of the state in targeted low-income communities of color. Especially when, by the late 1960s, police officers are assuming many of the functions of the previous War on Poverty programs where social workers were once providing afterschool programs for kids in Detroit and in York, Pennsylvania.
Now police officers are offering recreational programs after school. So, if police, who are not there to serve and protect you, but their purpose in low-income communities of color is to find criminals and potential criminals, arrest them, and then remove them from the community. That sets up an antagonistic relationship, not only between residents and officers, but between residents and state institutions in general.
WATKINS: This seems like an important part of the context of the book—and why you argue in your first book that the roots of mass incarceration, it's not so much Reagan in the eighties and the War on Drugs, it's LBJ and the War on Poverty in the 1960s—is that as the War on Poverty morphs into the War on Crime, law enforcement is literally flooded with a huge amount of federal money and resources, and then you've got the effect of Vietnam as well, and that hardware showing up. That is also precipitating a lot of this violence, and the constant surveillance from police.
HINTON: That's why the fact that the peak of rebellion occurs following the enactment of the Safe Streets Act is so important. When these new federal grants–
WATKINS: And that's '68, right? Safe Streets?
HINTON: That's in '68, Johnson signs the legislation into law in June 1968. In addition to requiring states to make crime control a priority, and also incentivizing or shaping priorities at the state and local level by saying, if federal grants are coming in the form of crime control at a rate that's far outpacing community action and economic opportunity, then states are going to start to change their own policies to get that new federal money.
This is also why we begin to see rebellion spreading out into smaller communities like York and like Cairo, because the early recipients of these new federal crime control programs tended to be larger cities. One of the things that I'm really proud of in the book is a 25-page timeline of Black rebellions that you make reference to, that includes basically a list of the over two thousand cities where rebellions occurred between '64 and '72.
But we really see that the location of rebellion, and again, the frequency and scale begin to really escalate following the enactment of this legislation in June. And it's because these federal grants are beginning to reach these smaller departments. And when these strategies are being used in segregated low-income Black communities, residents are responding in the same way to these new policing strategies as their counterparts in Watts and Detroit and Newark had.
WATKINS: It's very powerful at the end of the book, as you just page through page after page of these rebellions.
Also in '68, you have the Kerner Commission, which is this commission convened by Johnson to look into the causes of the "riots" and what's to be done about them. It comes back with a response, which I don't think anybody expected—least of all Johnson, who pretty much disavowed it—which was the real problem here is white racism and an impending system of urban apartheid.
I think the commission calls for a Marshall plan for cities. It doesn't get everything right—I think it's still pretty wedded to a policing and enforcement model. But do you have a sense of how it did get so much right? And is that maybe an indication for you of a different path the sixties could have taken, and with the sixties, the rest of us?
HINTON: The Kerner Commission is a real missed opportunity because it basically recognized that if the federal government was serious about addressing the root causes of the violence and fostering racial equality, really addressing racial discrimination in a meaningful way, which was something that the Johnson administration had pledged to do, then a major structural transformation was needed that went beyond the War on Poverty.
I think this is another myth about the sixties, is that the War on Poverty was this majorly huge program and was rooted in structural reform. The War on Poverty did not go far enough to address inequality, in part because of the assumptions about Black pathology that steered the development of the War on Poverty program.
The idea was that the root cause of Black poverty was Black behavior, Black pathology, influenced by people like Daniel Patrick Moynihan. By the end of the sixties, the end of the Johnson administration, the Kerner Commission recognized that this hadn't worked, that the federal government needed to go further, and needed to invest resources in communities, needed to support a major job creation program, which I think would have completely changed the racial stratification and inequalities that we see in the U.S. today.
A job creation program, by mobilizing the public and private sector, and completely, beyond remedial education, putting the resources into urban public schools to bring them up to par with suburban schools. You have to wonder where the U.S. would be today had that structural transformation come to bear.
The recommendations of the Kerner Commission that did end up getting implemented were the ones that reinforced another one of Johnson's task forces, which proved to be much more influential, but that we don't talk about, which is the Crime Commission, which worked for years to essentially develop a blueprint for the modernization of American law enforcement that became the Safe Streets Act.
Even when the Kerner Commission emphasized things that we're talking about today in terms of police reform—you know, they said, "maybe we don't need to have police with guns respond to every call; maybe we need to bring in social workers”; really critiquing some of the heavy-handed tactics that were increasingly being embraced—those aspects, those softer forms of the Kerner Commission's recommendations were rejected.
But in the moments where they called for more patrol and surveillance in low-income communities, echoing the recommendations of the Crime Commission, those were embraced. And of course, I think it's important to note that you can't separate the Kerner Commission's policing recommendations, again, from the larger structural interventions it was calling for alongside them.
WATKINS: So, if we want to turn to the present day—because I don't think you wrote this book just to tell a certain history, you also wrote this book, I think, with an eye on the present and about the importance of resistance and of organizing—I take it you were putting the finishing touches on this book in the midst of what was possibly the largest protest movement in U.S. history in response to the murder of Black people by police.
Is there one thing you would hope that a present-day organizer could take from your book?
HINTON: Well, one, understanding the larger history of these protests, that they didn't start with Michael Brown, or with George Floyd, that it has a much longer history and that it's an outgrowth of sets of decisions made by policy makers, I think is really important.
In recognizing that history as an outgrowth of a set of decisions, then we can think about how those decisions might be undone. But I think if we want to get out of this cycle, and this is why the Kerner Commission's recommendations are so important, then we have to look beyond the police.
I think this is what defund is really about. It's saying that we need a different set of solutions. We know that this punitive path has been a grave domestic policy failure, and those set of solutions should come in the form of programs that will empower communities, and that will invest resources into communities, and not in the form of more jails or better trained police or more body cams for police, but in the form of robust educational programs, college scholarships, early childhood education programs, job creation programs for vulnerable youth, just an entirely different set of policies. That is the only winning solution.
WATKINS: The punitive focus, which is always the response to everything—whether it's the violent rebellions in the period you were writing about, or more present day ones, or right now with the spike in gun violence that's taking place across the country—the answer is always more punishment, more police.
Even though, as you say, it's a very documented policy failure—what's happening right now is a condemnation of the status quo. And yet we just get the same answer, again and again. It almost feels like whether it succeeds or not is not even the point for those people preaching it.
HINTON: This hearkens back to, again, that resistance on the part of the Johnson administration and others to really investing the resources and enacting the policies that will fundamentally disrupt the racial hierarchies that have defined this country historically.
I also go back, as critical as I am about some of the aspects of the Great Society, I think some of the promising policy solutions we can also find in the War on Poverty. The community action programs that really only functioned as a direct channel from the federal government to autonomous grassroots programs from 1964 to 1965, under the principle of maximum feasible participation, I think is a policy precedent worth returning to.
Like the federal government granted police departments tens of millions of dollars to expand their forces and for new technologies, the federal government in that first year of the War on Poverty also granted local organizations millions of dollars directly to address the needs of their communities.
The idea steering the early War on Poverty programs was that poor people, community members have a much better sense of how to address the problem of poverty than a group of outsiders. Increasingly, as local officials and others resented this ceding of power to the people, these community action programs increasingly came under local administrative municipal oversight, and then law enforcement participation.
I think that principle though is what we need today. I think the federal government does have a role here, just as they did in fashioning the mass incarceration society that we currently live in. The first step is funding community groups who are providing, I think, the most promising and innovative approaches to public safety.
One of the big tasks before us is redefining public safety and what programs public safety could mean and should mean. It's community groups who are either self-funded or funded by whatever grants they can get their hands on are helping and assisting crime survivors. They're conducting harm reduction and violence intervention programs with people who are susceptible to gun violence, and they're proving to have really significant results. Again, these are approaches to public safety that go beyond the police. I think that is the future, that should be the future. And in order for it to really work, there's an important role for public funds and particularly the federal government to play.
WATKINS: When we talk about the role of the federal government, have you been heartened at all by some of what Biden has been doing, or at least saying, when it comes to racial justice and racial equity and to addressing the economy structurally and inequality? It's been a more notable shift than I think people were anticipating.
HINTON: Yes, definitely more than I anticipated. We haven't heard a president address the problem, or recognize the problem, of racial discrimination since Kennedy and also Johnson. I often tell my students that Richard Nixon is our last, was our most liberal president. Now, of course, it remains to be seen, but at least it seems like now we're back to more of a Johnson model and back to an administration that wants to address racial inequality.
And of course, the representation within the Biden administration is wonderful to see. But then the question is, again, whether we're going to be stuck in this reform trap with a lot of good rhetoric.
The response so far to police violence has been pattern-or-practice investigations by the Department of Justice—which has been since the 1994 Crime Bill the only federal check on systemic racism within police departments, but also police violence. The Justice Department announced two investigations following the conviction of Derek Chauvin in April: one in Minneapolis and one in Louisville where Breonna Taylor was killed by plainclothes police force a couple months before George Floyd was.
These investigations often end up costing local police departments hundreds of millions of dollars to implement reforms. As I show in the book in my chapter on Cincinnati, where a pattern-or-practice investigation unfolded for eight years, and it's considered one of the most successful ones, they don't necessarily effectively prevent more police killings in the future. They don't necessarily lead to long-term shifts within the culture of police departments.
I'm still looking for and hoping for, again, a different set of investments and a complete transformation of police, an end of policing as we know it. I'm really encouraged by some of the developments that are happening in places like Ithaca, New York, where the city council and the police union—this is huge–
WATKINS: Yeah, remarkable.
HINTON: Yeah…voted to abolish the police department and replace it with the Department of Community Solutions and Public Safety, and actually embracing some of the more radical suggestions that had been suggested by the Kerner Commission: not to have a uniformed officer with a gun respond to every call, to bring in mental health professionals and social workers to address public safety problems, and to give civilians oversight and empower communities.
I think these are the kinds of models that hopefully, as we see success in Ithaca, which I'm confident that we will, will be implemented nationally under the leadership of the federal government. Again, the federal government helped get us into this mess.
So I hope, under the Biden administration's leadership—despite the fact that Biden in many ways is responsible for getting us into this mess by shepherding the legislation of the War on Drugs through the Senate in the eighties, and then of course, being the author of the Senate version of the Crime Bill in 1994, which led to the skyrocketing of American prison systems—I'm confident that, or hopeful that, he will bring about this new regime and this different policy approach that is so necessary in our current moment.
WATKINS: Well, I hope so too. Elizabeth, I just want to thank you so much for such a rich conversation. Congratulations on both books, which I really think are a tandem project, and it's been great as well to see all of the deserved attention that they're getting. So, thanks so much.
HINTON: Thank you so much for having me. I've loved this conversation.
WATKINS: That was Yale historian, Elizabeth Hinton. Not long after we recorded this conversation, President Biden announced a new strategy to combat gun violence. Notably, it frees up a large pool of federal funds for local jurisdictions to both hire more police officers and to invest in community-based anti-violence work. In an email, Elizabeth noted: "Although part of Biden’s gun violence policy encourages state and local governments to use COVID Rescue plan funds to hire more police, much of the substance of the plan urges that hundreds of billions of dollars be spent on community-based violence intervention programs. I’m very cautiously optimistic that the plan represents a step toward a promising new public safety paradigm."
For more information about today’s show and about Elizabeth Hinton, visit courtinnovation.org/newthinking.
Today’s episode was edited and produced by me. Samiha Meah is our director of design. Emma Dayton is our VP of outreach. Our theme music is by Michael Aharon at quivernyc.com. and our show’s founder is Rob Wolf. This has been New Thinking from the Center for Court Innovation. I’m Matt Watkins. Thanks for listening.