Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who took office January 1, wasted no time getting in the headlines, telling his prosecutors (New York Times, 1/6/22) that they should seek “jail or prison time only for the most serious offenses—including murder, sexual assault and economic crimes involving vast sums of money.”
He also told them to “avoid seeking jail time for…certain robberies and assaults, as well as gun possession” if “no other crimes are involved.”
Criminal justice reform advocates see this move as a victory.
Calling it a “balanced approach,” Allen Roskoff, president of a Downtown Manhattan progressive LGBT Democratic club, said in a statement that the “LGBTQ community, especially Black and brown queer people, have suffered much of the brunt of over-policing for minor crimes,” as well as “under-protection from serious offenses.”
Bragg and his directives are part of a national movement of progressive DAs—including San Francisco’s Chesa Boudin and Philadelphia’s Larry Krasner—who seek alternatives to incarceration, a less-radical sister movement to prison abolitionism, reducing the carceral state’s role in the criminal justice system through electoral reformism.
That’s why Rupert Murdoch’s biggest outlets, whose bread and butter is scaremongering reports on crime, have spent the beginning of 2022 on a full-scale attack against Bragg’s directives. Read more.