Shaina needed to work – but she didn’t have childcare. So she left her kids in a hotel room while she went to her job.
Someone tipped off the police. When they got to the hotel room, Shaina’s 10-year-old told them her mom would be back. The police, of course, responded with unnecessary punishment.
Shaina told the authorities that came to the pizza shop where she worked that she usually has someone to look in on the kids hourly – but the police arrested her for child endangerment! This is a nonsensical response to a societal problem.
Childcare should be universal, like healthcare and other resources all people need. It’s very expensive, and not being able to afford it shouldn’t be criminalized. But policing punishes poverty instead of addressing its underlying causes. Luckily, Shaina’s story didn’t end there.
The criminalization of poverty comes in many forms. Policing always responds with punishment, when that doesn’t solve the problem.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We can dismantle the criminal legal system and reallocate resources to the problems it fails to fix – this is the abolitionist solution.