The purpose of the Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice (IPSSJ) is to meet public safety challenges with socially just solutions. We work with community groups, peer institutions, and systems partners to address public safety challenges. By forging creative collaborations, we can devise empirically sound methods beyond mere suppression to create environments where a more lasting and meaningful sense of peace and wellness can prevail. We believe that by working together and bringing all concerned people into the mix, we can improve urban safety outcomes by enhancing human potential and community wellness.
Rather than rely completely on safety strategies that isolate and confine, we strive to develop transformative alternatives that restore people, families, and neighborhoods to their optimal functionality. By mobilizing the wisdom and assets of stakeholders at all levels, IPSSJ seeks to shift the tide in public safety thinking and create momentum for 21st century solutions that strengthen communities, protect families, and bring people closer together. We aim to create communities where all people can reach their full potential.
Every time we remove someone from society, there are serious, long-term consequences. While this is often a necessary step in protecting family and/ or community members, our society has become far too reliant on strategies of confinement and control. We must rediscover our capacity for lifting up all members of our society, no matter their needs, challenges, or personal traumas. By focusing on peoples’ potential - rather than just their negative behaviors - we can begin to build stronger and safer neighborhoods. We believe that real safety is the result of vibrant communities and systems that promote self-reliance, interdependence, and accountability.
IPSSJ addresses the following objectives through community collaboration, public education, and applied research:
- Working to build public safety systems that heal and address trauma rather than recreate it
- Helping organizations plan strategies that promote functionality and wellness
- Supporting a cultural shift away from punishment and toward positive human and community development