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What Would Society Look Like Without Police?

What Would Society Look Like Without Police? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
The World We Want: A Zócalo/University of Toronto Event Series
Moderated by Jamiles Lartey, Staff Writer, The Marshall Project

All over the world, law enforcement violence and corruption have reignited anti-racism movements that seek the reform and defunding of police—or even their outright abolition. Advocates of defunding the police say it would open up possibilities for addressing social challenges, from improving mental health and developing more sustainable neighborhoods and economies, to repairing the damage from centuries of discrimination and state violence. How would such a transfer of resources play out, especially in communities with a highly visible police presence? Who would replace police in their core work of emergency response, violence prevention, and crime investigation? What would it mean for a 21st-century society to dismantle, or even eliminate, its policing?

University of Toronto Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work Dean Dexter Voisin, Harvard University professor of criminal justice Sandra Susan Smith, and Rachel Harmon, director of the Center for Criminal Justice at University of Virginia Law, visit Zócalo to explore what our communities and nations would look like without traditional cops.

Zócalo and the University of Toronto present The World We Want, an event series exploring our current societal, political and economic challenges and how we might emerge from the current moment. The series also includes:


What Would a New Cold War Mean for the World?

Thursday, February 11, 2021 – 1:00 PM PST


How Do Our Cities Prepare for the Post-Apocalypse?

Tuesday, April 6, 2021 – 1:00 PM PST


Can We Still Find the Good in the World?

June 2021


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Zócalo and the University of Toronto thank the Consulate General of Canada in Los Angeles for supporting The World We Want.

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