Criminal Justice Reform
As an attorney, I won clemency for a man who was serving over a decade for a non-violent drug offense. There is no way for me to describe the moment when I told him that he was going to be released and would be able to return to his family. As Public Advocate, I would fight for justice among the communities of color who are disproportionately impacted by inequitable sentencing guidelines and then often blocked from earning a living even after they've served their time.
End Mass Pretrial Jailing:
As Public Advocate I would hold the city accountable to make sure that its actions match its rhetoric. Equity demands that we end cash bail, but it must be done as part of a program that will ensure more people aren’t remanded pending trial. In addition to ending cash bail, we must implement speedy trial requirements - holding evidentiary hearings within set days after arraignments - and ensure a universal presumption of release pretrial
We also need to shore up and streamline the release process: people should be released within the allotted time without delay.
We must ensure that the new jails in each borough are an improvement from the problems at Rikers and that we’re not just moving inmates to equally inhumane or worse facilities. The city should also be working hand in glove with borough representatives and the communities that are going to house the new replacement facilities.
Our communities are safest when the people living there feel that they can trust the police to keep them and their communities safe. The NYPD’s Neighborhood Policing model is a good step toward a community policing model. As Public Advocate I would monitor the progress of this program and ensure that it is being used as intended.
Marijuana should be legalized as both a criminal and racial justice issue. However, just like with smoking and drinking, we should carefully consider how to safely integrate it into our daily lives. City and public health officials need to work closely to understand and protect second hand smokers and what the effects are on brain development for young adults in order to keep the public informed.
Restoration of Rights:
Once people have served their time for non-violent crimes they deserve to have their full civil rights restored and go on to earn a living without facing further punitive measures upon re-entering society.
Reform the CCRB:
The Civilian Complaint Review Board was a good step forward. Civilian oversight of our police force has been instrumental in cases such as the complaints against Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who held Eric Garner in a banned chokehold that led to his death. However, the CCRB needs prosecutorial authority that is codified in the Charter.