Newly-installed Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg instructed staff on Monday that his office will not seek pre-trial detention or prison sentences for crimes other than homicide, public corruption, and a few other exceptional cases.
In a memorandum obtained by the local CBS News outlet, Bragg declared:
Growing up in Harlem in the 1980s, I saw every side of the criminal justice system from a young age. Before I was 21 years old, I had a gun pointed at me six times: three by police officers and three by people who were not police officers. I had a knife to my neck, a semi-automatic gun to my head, and a homicide victim on my doorstep. In my adult life, I have posted bail for family, answered the knock of the warrant squad on my door in the early morning, and watched the challenges of a loved one who was living with me after returning from incarceration. Late last year, during a stretch of multiple shootings within three blocks of my home, I had perhaps the most sobering experience of my life: seeing ––through the eyes of my children–– the aftermath of a shooting directly in front of our home, as we walked together past yellow crime scene tape, seemingly countless shell casings, and a gun, just to get home.
In large part because of these experiences, I have dedicated my career to the inextricably linked goals of safety and fairness.