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New York Working Families Party: 2021 District Attorney Candidate Questionnaire

New York Working Families Party: 2021 District Attorney Candidate Questionnaire

Local and state prosecutors hold extraordinary power in the criminal legal system. Prosecutors have played a central role in driving the crisis of mass incarceration by overcharging, over-prosecuting, and using incarceration as a first, rather than last, resort. This approach has not made communities safer. Instead, it has driven racial disparities and aggravated socioeconomic instability in vulnerable communities. How prosecutors exercise discretion at each stage of case proceedings - from initial bail and charging decisions, to the sentences they seek to impose - impacts fairness and due process for individuals and the broader imprint of the carceral system on our society. In addition, prosecutors also wield significant influence as policymakers and civic leaders, and can work with legislators, judges, public defenders, law enforcement, and other community stakeholders to advance justice through budgetary and policy change. Prosecutors can play a central role in the work of shifting resources out of policing, jails, prisons, and surveillance, and into things that people need to thrive.

The questions that follow reflect our belief that New Yorkers need public policy and budgets that advance safety beyond policing and prisons, an end to mass criminalization and incarceration, and that District Attorneys in New York must take concrete action to advance these goals.