Community Safety and Justice

The Community Safety and Justice portfolio at PolicyLink has sunset as of April 30, 2023. The Building Beyond Policing and People’s Coalition for Safety and Freedom networks are in the process of establishing new fiscal or organizational homes for their work to continue to grow. For more information about Building Beyond Policing, please contact Sara Mokuria and Hena Khairzadah at For more information about the People’s Coalition for Safety and Freedom, please contact Kamau Butcher at

Building Beyond Policing
Activists, organizers, advocates, researchers, and academics working to develop resources and build alignment around a principled, long-term movement to transform our safety infrastructure away from one focused on criminalization and surveillance to one centered in community investment and wellbeing. These efforts included convening the field at the first Building Beyond Policing national conference in January 2020. Co-hosted by fourteen national and regional organizations, the event focused on creating a national infrastructure that centers and connects community-based campaigns, programs, and models to imagine and build a world without policing, including divest/invest and #AbolishICE campaigns, alternative responses to crises, and transformative justice programs.
Freedom Labs

Freedom Labs are intensive workshops designed to support local organizers and community leaders who are advocating to divest funding from the criminal-legal system and invest those resources directly in infrastructure that strengthens their communities. Through a series of training sessions and workshops, participants learn new skills, build community, and learn about similar campaigns in their regions. The first two regional Freedom Labs were held in the Midwest (Milwaukee, WI in November 2019) and the South (Nashville, TN in January 2020). Freedom Labs is a co-sponsor of, a comprehensive web resource where organizers can find information about defund campaigns, policies, resources, trainings, and budget tools. Freedom Labs is a national partnership between PolicyLink, the Center for Popular Democracy, and Law for Black Lives.

People’s Coalition for Safety and Freedom

The People’s Coalition for Safety and Freedom works to decarcerate the United States and invest billions of dollars into the communities most impacted by policies of criminalization and incarceration. The coalition’s first goal is to dismantle the harmful provisions of the 1994 Crime Bill and replace them with a new federal Community Safety and Wellness Bill that will be developed through a People’s Process — sustained community engagement led by people directly impacted by the criminal legal system, including currently and formerly incarcerated people.

Oakland Reimagining Public Safety Task Force

The Oakland Reimagining Public Safety Task Force was commissioned to rapidly reimagine and reconstruct the city’s public safety system in the wake of community demands to reprioritize public spending. The Task will develop recommendations by April 2021 to increase community safety through alternative responses to calls for assistance and investments in programs, services, and infrastructure that address the root causes of violence and crime (such as health services, housing, and jobs), funded through a 50 percent reduction in the budget allocation to the Oakland Police Department.