In an effort to spur action on the issues that Sociology Professor Susan Sered has raised through critiques of “the institutional circuit of jails, rehab programs, detention facilities, drug courts, temporary housing and battered women’s and homeless shelters,” she has published a blog post that aims to spur action.

“The reality is that revolutions take time,” writes Sered in "Thinking Outside the Cell: Concrete Suggestions for Positive Change."

“They’re the result of tireless grassroots efforts, community-building, and policy-lobbying. The people working on the front lines in struggling communities aren’t working independently of each other — nor are they necessarily working toward the kind of long-term paradigm shift we’re hoping for. In my experience, I’ve come across programs and policies that seek to alleviate the most immediate suffering while avoiding the structural oppressions that perpetuate that suffering. I’ve also come across programs and policies that mean well, but ultimately reinforce the system that makes them necessary in the first place. Real change is tedious, needs resources, and often has to fend off not only direct opposition but also counterproductive short-term alleviation.In this post, I’ve pulled together the best models that I’ve found.”

She addresses four key areas where change might occur:

  1. Harm Reduction and Housing First
  2. Meaningful Work
  3. Activism, Advocacy and Community Building
  4. Legislative and Policy Initiatives

Read the full essay.