NEW YORK (CBSNew York) – New Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg changes crimes that will be prosecuted. His new plan targets pre-prison programs.
But some are wondering how they will impact overall security in the city, CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported on Tuesday.
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With just a few days of work, Bragg is changing the way certain crimes will be handled by his office. He fulfills a campaign promise which Bragg says is informed by his upbringing in Harlem and his personal experiences of both confronting and upholding the law.
“Having had an automatic weapon over my head, a knife to my throat… so I wanted to give voice to people who know about these experiences and give context to those who don’t know them,” Bragg said.
In a note to staff, he said offenses such as marijuana-related offenses, prostitution and tariff evasion would no longer be prosecuted.
CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL MEMO TO DA STAFF
Bragg believes longer sentences don’t deter crime and make society safer.
“35 years ago you saw some kind of increased incarceration not necessarily leading to public safety benefits, then our city’s most recent chapter before the pandemic, incarceration and crime all decreasing. two, that’s what we have to come back to, ”he said. noted.
Watch Aundrea Cline-Thomas report –
Bragg also advises lower charges for some low-level drug addicted offenders and for certain burglaries, and in low-level store thefts, lower charges if a suspect “displays a dangerous instrument but does not create a real risk of physical harm.” .
The prosecutor said the changes would give lawyers more time to prosecute violent offenses.
“Obviously there’s going to be a response from the government, but for tariff evasion, it won’t be incarceration, not in Manhattan,” Bragg said. “I had a shooting in my neighborhood a month ago. We need to focus on that. “
The new guidelines are being developed by school principals, including investing more in programs to prevent offenders from being incarcerated, reducing the prison population before they go to prison, limiting the number of young people tried in prison. adulthood and providing more programs for those returning home after incarceration.
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Critics fear the effects on people who live or work in Manhattan.
“There is nothing wrong with saying that you want to reduce the number of people in our prisons. There is nothing wrong with saying that you want to exercise more discretion over the people we have sent to prison. But there are people who commit violent crimes, ”City Council member Joe Borelli told CBS2’s Dick Brennan.
What does Mayor Eric Adams think of the political news?
“I did not communicate with the DA. I haven’t looked and analyzed exactly what he’s asking for, ”Adams said.
But during the election campaign, Adams argued for more services, as well as higher bail and jail time for offenders.
Adams said he hopes to call a meeting with lawmakers, district attorneys and law enforcement.
“We want everyone to come into the room and operate from the same playbook. We can have the justice we deserve with the public safety we need,” Adams said.
These policies mark a major change for an office that has a reputation for being tougher in its approach to criminal justice.
The Legal Aid Society said in a statement that it “welcomes this memo as a substantial first step in reforming an office that has long resorted to excessive bond demands and overcharging from our clients,” adding: “A reform Meaningful demands that these newly announced policies become standard operating procedure across the office, and we urge judges not to stand in the way of these necessary and long overdue reforms. ”
The Police Benevolent Association said it had “serious concerns about the message these types of policies send to police officers and criminals,” adding that they “would be eager to discuss these issues with District Attorney Bragg.”
Bragg said he welcomed the discussion.
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Dick Brennan of CBS2 contributed to this report.