The memo claims to reserve jail time only for matters involving ‘significant harm will make us safer.’
Manhattan’s newly sworn-in district attorney reportedly told his staff he does not intend to prosecute several crimes, including resisting arrest. At the same time, New York City’s newly sworn-in mayor is pledging to crack down on surging crime.
Alvin Bragg, a former federal prosecutor, sworn in as Manhattan District Attorney on Jan. 1, sent guidance to his office calling for the “decriminalization/non-procession, turnstile jumping, trespassing, resisting arrest, interfering with an arrest and prostitution.
Guidance sent out stated, the DA’s office will “not seek carceral sentence other than for homicide” or “class B violent felony in which a deadly weapon causes serious injury, domestic violence felonies” with some exceptions in “extraordinary circumstances.”
The memo sent out stated that it places to “reserve incarceration for matters involving significant harm will make us safer.”
In addition to lessening the majority of all crimes, Bragg’s office also says it will request a maximum of 20 years in prison for all crimes that don’t have a life-in-prison option and will never seek life without parole in any case regardless of how heinous.
According to Bragg’s office, pretrial detention will only be recommended in “very serious cases.”
Bragg’s office attempted to defend their position in the memo by stating, “the data show that the overwhelming majority of those released pretrial do not commit a violent crime while at liberty. Two studies show that even three days in jail can lead to a loss of housing, employment, and strain family connections and increase the likelihood of failure to appear in court.”
Upon the memo’s release, The New York Police Benevolent Association (NYPNA) who is already struggling to keep morale high, released a statement on social media shortly after the memo was released, expressing serious concern in the 2022 plan.
“We continue to have serious concerns about the message these types of policies send to both police officers and criminals on the street,” PBA President Patrick J. Lynch said. “Police officers don’t want to be sent out to enforce laws that the district attorneys won’t prosecute. And there are already too many people who believe that they can commit crimes, resist arrest, interfering with police officers, and face zero consequences.”
Lynch added that he looks forward to “discussing these issues” with Bragg.
Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat and retired police officer who was sworn in on New Year’s Eve, also came out in a statement to say, “I am conservative for policing.” Campaigned on a platform of addressing the crime problem and bail reform issues that have outraged many residents.
Adams stated during a Tuesday press conference that he has “not communicated with the DA,” saying, “I have not looked over and analyzed exactly what he’s calling for.”
To add more insult to injury, nearly 100,000 accused criminals in New York City have been released back onto the streets due to the controversial 2019 bail reform law. Of 3,400 of them, about 4% were rearrested for a violent felony while awaiting trial.