Recently, Alvin Bragg, the new district attorney for crime-beleaguered Manhattan, declared a new policy regarding criminal prosecution: A significant percentage of charges for felony crimes may be downgraded or dismissed entirely, while prison sentences will be dedicated to only a select handful of crimes.
According to the Daily Mail, the Democrat district attorney, various misdemeanors, including trespassing, prostitution, resisting arrest, and various marijuana-related charges will no longer be prosecutable offenses. Consequently, prosecutors should not pursue bail requirements for any suspects presently awaiting trial.
Bragg claims that prison sentences are only appropriate for violent crimes, including domestic violence, assaults, and homicides. In addition, prison terms are also appropriate for “major economic crimes” and public corruption.
However, Bragg has also placed restrictions upon the appropriate duration of prison terms, noting that when prosecutors angle to put a convict in prison, the request should be for no more than 20 years for a determinate sentence. A determinant sentence refers to one that is not subject to review or further changes from a parole board, per commentary from The New York Post.
In remarks to CBS New York, Bragg claimed that longer prison sentences do not prevent crime, nor do they make society safer. The district attorney also stressed that his proposed reforms would allow attorneys to have more time for prosecuting violent criminal offenses.
The new mayor for New York City, Eric Adams, is a former NYPD police officer who won his campaign based on promises to reduce the soaring crime rates across the city. Thus far, Adams expressed clear support for the policies proposed by Bragg, as reported by the Daily Mail.
Despite Adams’s support, the NYPD Detectives’ Endowment Association (DEA) levied strong criticism against the proposed changes. DEA President Paul DiGiacomo remarked to the New York Post that “Bragg’s Manhattan” is a place where one can “deal drugs,” “obstruct arrests,” “resist arrest,” and “even carry a gun and get away with it.”
DiGiacomo also declared that Bragg’s polices provide criminals with a “roadmap to freedom from prosecution and control of our streets.”
Moreover, a Manhattan police supervisor has observed that an “identical platform” has not worked out favorably in Chicago, Baltimore, San Francisco, and Philadelphia.
“[The new policies] will lead to more young lives lost to gang violence and innocent people being hurt,” the supervisor warned.