Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Dec 12, 2017

Professor Alex S. Vitale joins the Beyond Prisons podcast to discuss his book, "The End Of Policing," which provides a historical analysis of law enforcement and police reform in the United States and argues for alternatives.

Vitale tells us about how he came to write this book and walks us through the early history of police in the United States. He discusses the popular myths surrounding policing, underscoring their conflicts with the roles police have played as managers of inequality from colonialism, to the emergence of a mass industrial working class, to slavery.

Vitale discusses the litany of problems inherent to the most popular police reforms touted by liberals in recent decades. He discusses how these reforms fall short and why they distract and fail to address root causes. He also talks about how these reform approaches lack a critical analysis of the legal frameworks police use and how the strategy of professionalizing police forces has been more about restoring public confidence than addressing issues of safety and justice.

We discuss how police don't make schools make schools safer, don't deter gang activity, how they perpetuate homelessness, and more, and examine the enormous investments we make in law enforcement that could be put to much better use empowering communities in ways that reduce harm.

Alex S. Vitale is Professor of Sociology at Brooklyn College and coordinator of the Policing and Social Justice Project there. He has spent the last 25 years writing about policing and consults both police departments and human rights organizations internationally. He is also a frequent essayist, whose writings have appeared in the New York Daily News, New York Times, Nation, Gotham Gazette, and New Inquiry.

Follow Alex Vitale on Twitter: @avitale

Get a copy of "The End Of Policing" from Verso Books—50% off for entire month of December 2017.

Support our show and join us on Patreon. Special thanks to Andrew Dilts for his support and shout out to listener Malik Raymond for volunteering to transcribe our episodes.

Please listen, subscribe, and rate/review our podcast on iTunes and on Google Play

Sign up for the Beyond Prisons newsletter to receive updates on new episodes, important news and events, and more.

Send tips, comments, and questions to

Follow us on Twitter: @Beyond_Prison @phillyprof03 @bsonenstein @jaybeware

Like us on Facebook:

Music & Production: Jared Ware