playlist

The paths and possibilities of police reform

Thoughtful, actionable TED talks on how we might transform a seemingly impossible problem into a solvable one.

  1. 12:13
    Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff How we can make racism a solvable problem — and improve policing

    When we define racism as behaviors instead of feelings, we can measure it — and transform it from an impossible problem into a solvable one, says justice scientist Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff. In an actionable talk, he shares his work at the Center for Policing Equity, an organization that helps police departments diagnose and track racial gaps in policing in order to eliminate them. Learn more about their data-driven approach — and how you can get involved with the work that still needs to be done. (This ambitious plan is part of the Audacious Project, TED's initiative to inspire and fund global change.)

  2. 8:46
    Anthony D. Romero The ACLU's call to defund the police

    "We need to defund the budgets of police departments. It's the only way we're going to take power back," says Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Calling for allies to get involved in the efforts to dismantle systemic racism, Romero explains why police reform isn't enough anymore — and shows why it's time to take money from militarized law enforcement and reinvest it in the community. (This video, excerpted from a panel discussion featuring Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, Rashad Robinson and Dr. Bernice King, was recorded June 3, 2020. Watch the full discussion at go.ted.com/endingracism)

  3. 9:57
    Tracie Keesee How police and the public can create safer neighborhoods together

    We all want to be safe, and our safety is intertwined, says Tracie Keesee, cofounder of the Center for Policing Equity. Sharing lessons she's learned from 25 years as a police officer, Keesee reflects on the public safety challenges faced by both the police and local neighborhoods, especially in the African American community, as well as the opportunities we all have to preserve dignity and guarantee justice. "We must move forward together. There's no more us versus them," Keesee says.

  4. 13:07
    Melvin Russell I love being a police officer, but we need reform

    We've invested so much in police departments as protectors that we have forgotten what it means to serve our communities, says Baltimore Police officer Lt. Colonel Melvin Russell. It's led to coldness and callousness, and it's dehumanized the police force. After taking over as district commander in one of Baltimore's toughest neighborhoods, Russell instituted a series of reforms aimed at winning back the trust of the community and lowering the violent crime rate. "Law enforcement is in a crisis," he says. "But it's not too late for all of us to build our cities and nation to make it great again."

  5. 12:54
    Dick M. Carpenter II The injustice of "policing for profit" — and how to end it

    Many countries have an active, centuries-old law that allows government agencies to take your things — your house, your car, your business — without ever convicting you of a crime. Law researcher Dick M. Carpenter II exposes how this practice of civil forfeiture threatens your rights and creates a huge monetary incentive for law enforcement to pocket your possessions — and he lays out a path to end "policing for profit" once and for all.

  6. 1h 6m
    Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, Rashad Robinson, Dr. Bernice King, Anthony D. Romero The path to ending systemic racism in the US

    In a time of mourning and anger over the ongoing violence inflicted on Black communities by police in the US and the lack of accountability from national leadership, what is the path forward? Sharing urgent insights into this historic moment, Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, Rashad Robinson, Dr. Bernice King and Anthony D. Romero discuss dismantling the systems of oppression and racism responsible for tragedies like the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and far too many others — and explore how the US can start to live up to its ideals. (This discussion, hosted by head of TED Chris Anderson and current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers, was recorded on June 3, 2020.)

  7. 12:07
    Laura Rovner What happens to people in solitary confinement

    Imagine living with no significant human contact for years, even decades, in a cell the size of a small bathroom. This is the reality for those in long-term solitary confinement, a form of imprisonment regularly imposed in US prisons. In this eye-opening talk, civil rights lawyer Laura Rovner takes us to ADX, the US federal government's only supermax prison, and describes the dehumanizing effects of long-term solitude on the mind, personality and sense of self. What emerges is an urgent case for abolishing solitary confinement — and evidence for how our tax dollars, public safety and values are implicated in it. "Prisons are administered in our name and on our behalf," she says. "We have an obligation to bear witness."

  8. 14:53
    Martha Minow How forgiveness can create a more just legal system

    Pardons, commutations and bankruptcy laws are all tools of forgiveness within the US legal system. Are we using them frequently enough, and with fairness? Law professor Martha Minow outlines how these merciful measures can reinforce racial and economic inequality — and makes the case for creating a system of restorative justice that focuses on accountability and reconciliation rather than punishment.

  9. 14:24
    Robin Steinberg What if we ended the injustice of bail?

    On any given night, more than 450,000 people in the United States are locked up in jail simply because they don't have enough money to pay bail. The sums in question are often around $500: easy for some to pay, impossible for others. This has real human consequences — people lose jobs, homes and lives, and it drives racial disparities in the legal system. Robin Steinberg has a bold idea to change this. In this powerful talk, she outlines the plan for The Bail Project — an unprecedented national revolving bail fund to fight mass incarceration. (This ambitious idea is part of the Audacious Project, TED's initiative to inspire and fund global change.)

  10. 12:43
    Salil Dudani How jails extort the poor

    Why do we jail people for being poor? Today, half a million Americans are in jail only because they can't afford to post bail, and still more are locked up because they can't pay their debt to the court, sometimes for things as minor as unpaid parking tickets. Salil Dudani shares stories from individuals who have experienced debtors' prison in Ferguson, Missouri, challenging us to think differently about how we punish the poor and marginalized.

  11. 12:04
    Jarrell Daniels What prosecutors and incarcerated people can learn from each other

    A few weeks before his release from prison, Jarrell Daniels took a class where incarcerated men learned alongside prosecutors. By simply sitting together and talking, they uncovered surprising truths about the criminal justice system and ideas for how real change happens. Now a scholar and activist, Daniels reflects on how collaborative education could transform the justice system and unlock solutions to social problems.