Kwanza Hall plans repeal of ‘broken windows’ codes

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Kwanza Hall plans repeal of ‘broken windows’ codes

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EMILY JENKINS / EJENKINS@AJC.COM
Hall, shown here at the groundbreaking ceremony of the new MLK Recreation and Aquatic Center scheduled to open in the fall of 2017, says that some of the “broken windows” policies are now unnecessary, clog jails and harken back to Jim Crow. The broken windows theory, introduced in the early 1980s, holds that small problems unaddressed lead to bigger problems.

Discussions on three measures that would address how policing is done in Atlanta have been put on hold until next week.

Last week, city councilman Kwanza Hall introduced several ordinances and resolutions in the wake of the unrest that has followed several police shootings across the nation.

One of the measures would decriminalize violations such as loitering around railroad tracks, spitting in public, begging for money and breaking curfew.

Hall, reached briefly Monday in Philadelphia, said that some of the “broken windows” policies are now unnecessary, clog jails and harken back to Jim Crow.

The broken windows theory, introduced in the early 1980s, holds that small problems unaddressed lead to bigger problems.

“This will be the most controversial because it deals with a huge transformational and paradigm shift in thinking that will require a deep dive discussion to make it work,” Hall said. “They are the crimes that date back to black codes and the Jim Crow era. Some of them were introduced more recently, but the idea of them is that they further criminalize poor people.”

Hall said he plans to bring the ordinances back up in two weeks at the Atlanta City Council’s public safety committee meeting, before it is voted on by the full council.

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