Boston City Councilor and mayoral candidate Andrea Campbell released a comprehensive plan to transform the City of Boston’s approach to public safety and criminal justice that focuses on addressing root causes of violence and crime including poverty and trauma, investing directly in neighborhoods and opportunities for young Bostonians, fighting for criminal justice reform at every level of government, and making the Boston Police Department the most transparent and accountable police department in the nation.
“My entire life has been impacted by the trauma, loss, and injustices of incarceration and the criminal legal system,” said Councilor Campbell. “It’s time we reimagine our approach to public safety to address root causes of violence and crime, and invest in strategies that support public health, economic justice, and youth development to heal and empower our communities and break cycles of generational poverty, trauma, and incarceration. As mayor, I will ensure our Boston Police Department is the most transparent and accountable in the nation, make Boston a leader in criminal justice reform and effective reentry, shift our school safety approach to a restorative justice model, and ensure all Bostonians feel safe in their communities.”
Campbell’s plan details four key strategies:
1. Reimagine public safety and criminal justice to address root causes of violence and crime by creating equitable access to good education, housing, jobs, mental health services and addiction treatment; reallocating at least 10 percent of the Boston Police budget to invest in public health, economic justice, and youth development strategies; shifting the City’s school safety approach from a law enforcement model to a restorative justice model; and establishing a new co-responder crisis response system for non-violent 911 calls.
2. Make the Boston Police Department the most transparent and accountable in the nation by implementing the Office of Police Accountability and Transparency with a system of true civilian oversight; demilitarizing our police; ensuring all law enforcement agencies that operate in the City of Boston have a written, consistent, transparent, and enforced body camera policy; launching an open police data initiative; and taking bold steps to diversify our public safety agencies by amending civil service and ending other discriminatory hiring and promotional practices.
3. Focus on prevention by investing in our neighborhoods and youth by investing directly in communities considered hot spots; removing police from Boston Public Schools to invest in more school counselors, mental health clinicians, social workers, nurses, and family engagement specialists; expanding access to youth jobs and youth development programs; addressing gun violence as a public health crisis; and strengthening protections and City services for immigrants of all statuses.
4. Advance criminal justice reforms at all levels of government by advocating for passage of Congresswoman Pressley’s “Peoples Justice Guarantee” and the elimination of cash bail; supporting efforts to raise the age that youth offenders can be tried as adults, eliminate mandatory minimums, and expand diversion programs; ensuring incarcerated individuals have access to the health care they deserve; and increasing funding for effective reentry programs.
As the District 4 Councilor primarily serving Dorchester and Mattapan, a district with some of the highest rates of violence and homicide in Boston, and as the Chair of the Council’s Committee on Public Safety and Criminal Justice, Campbell has been a leader on police reform and accountability, violence prevention, and criminal legal reform. Last year, Campbell spearheaded legislation to create an independent civilian review board to investigate and provide accountability for police misconduct, which ultimately passed as an ordinance creating the Office of Police Accountability and Transparency.
Campbell is already taking action towards implementing pieces of her public safety and criminal justice plan. This week, she and Councilor Arroyo refiled their legislation to restrict police use of chemical and kinetic crowd control weapons that passed the Council in December but was vetoed by Mayor Walsh. On Tuesday, March 2, Campbell will hold a hearing on the City’s progress to implement the Office of Police Accountability and Transparency and other police reforms adopted from the Mayor’s Police Reform Task Force last year.
On February 3rd, Campbell called on the Boston Police Commissioner to release a public report of investigations into Boston Police officers who may have participated in the Capitol insurrection on January 6th.