Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez unveiled Monday a new plan to reduce incarceration and improve justice in the borough while focusing on a wide range of reforms.
Gonzalez said the new plan, called Justice 2020, was developed with input from several stakeholders, including reform experts, defense attorneys, law enforcement and formerly incarcerated people.
"We will move away from overreliance on incarceration, engage all stakeholders as partners in justice, focus resources on those who do the most harm and make my Office more strategic and mission-driven," Gonzalez said in a statement. "As we continue to reap the benefits of historic decreases in crime here in Brooklyn and across the country, now is the time to focus on reforming injustices in the system that have led to overreliance on incarceration and a lack of trust in the criminal justice system. In many cases, incarceration does not keep us safer, and I am committed to shifting to ways of holding people accountable and increasing public safety that don’t rely on incarceration as the default option.”
According to Gonzalez’s office, the plan will incorporate several initiatives, including looking to "non-jail resolutions at every juncture of a case," ensuring that early release is the default in most parole proceedings, prioritizing collaboration with community organizations, and relying on updated data and analytics "to drive reform and ensure accountability and transparency."
He said a panel of experts, led by Medgar Evers College President Dr. Rudy Crew and former New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, came up with 17 different recommendations, including sealing or expunging past marijuana convictions and identifying people considered high risk to "explore early interventions to deter violent behavior."
Gonzalez said the office has already started implementing changes by erasing past marijuana convictions, and will aim to make "measurable progress toward enacting the 17 recommendations" by the end of 2020.