New Manhattan DA promises to keep "emptying the jails"

New Manhattan DA promises to keep "emptying the jails"
AP Photo/Brittainy Newman

There may be a bit of a civil war on the way inside of New York City’s municipal government. As you may recall, newly installed Mayor Eric Adams ran for office on a platform of restoring law and order, getting the city’s surging crime rates under control, taking illegal guns off the streets, and putting violent criminals behind bars. These policies proved far more palatable to the voters than the “defund the police” proposals favored by some of his primary opponents and Adams won the election handily.

But now he may have a serious problem on his hands in the form of Alvin Bragg, the newly installed District Attorney for Manhattan. Almost immediately upon taking office, Bragg sent out a lengthy memo to all of the prosecutors under his office, issuing instructions that run almost 100% in defiance of the new mayor’s agenda. Prosecutors will be forbidden to seek jail terms for convicts in nearly all cases. In fact, to wind up behind bars at all, you’re probably going to have to literally kill someone or commit one of a handful of other extremely violent crimes. Oh, and almost nobody will be required to post bail. (NY Post)

Manhattan’s new district attorney has ordered his prosecutors to stop seeking prison sentences in a slew of criminal cases, according to a set of progressive policies made public Tuesday.

In his first memo to staff on Monday, Alvin Bragg said his office “will not seek a carceral sentence” except for in homicide and a handful of other cases, including domestic violence felonies, some sex crimes and public corruption.

“This rule may be excepted only in extraordinary circumstances based on a holistic analysis of the facts, criminal history, victim’s input (particularly in cases of violence or trauma), and any other information available,” the memo reads.

Going down the list of instructions that Bragg issued, you see a cornucopia of bad ideas. His agenda is the essence of the “empty the jails” movement and “bail reform” initiatives on steroids. His memo contains a social justice lecture on the perceived need to be mindful of the “impacts of incarceration” on communities of color. Completely missing from Bragg’s commentary is any mention of the “impacts on communities” when people are being carjacked, assaulted, or having their homes invaded and robbed.

In the rare cases where prosecutors will be allowed to ask for jail sentences, no sentence shall be for more than 20 years. He quite literally says that there will be no exceptions. So if you’re in New York City and you go mow down a dozen police officers with a gun or a vehicle, you can’t be sentenced to more than two decades. He specifically forbids any sentences of life without parole for anything. Youthful aspiring serial killers should rejoice since they’ll be back out in their familiar hunting grounds while they are still only in their forties.

The lack of cash bail for virtually all offenders means that the jails will be keeping their revolving doors in place and serial robbers will continue to roam the streets at will. The same goes for drug dealers and black-market resellers.

If Bragg is left in charge and is allowed to have his way, a great deal of Adams’ promised reforms will suddenly be entirely gutted. He can refund and rebuild the NYPD (as he has promised to do), restoring the major crimes units and all the rest. And the police can track down and arrest as many gang bangers as they are able to catch. But if Bragg just simply flushes almost all of them right back out onto the streets, what difference will any of it make? This guy looks like he’s aiming to be an east coast version of Chesa Boudin, placing his community in danger in the name of “social justice.” Boudin is currently facing recall. Perhaps the New Yorkers who elected Alvin Bragg should take a page from that playbook and get rid of this guy before he can gut New York City’s goal of staging a comeback.

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