The November election can bring swift and significant changes to the current criminal justice system. This will be based on the outcome of many prosecutors’ races.
Reform activists have supported the election of district attorneys who have “promised to reduce reliance on incarceration, increase transparency and promote equity,” according to the Los Angeles Daily News.
LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey will battle for re-election in a November run-off. She was elected in 2012, and ran unopposed in 2016. This year she faces George Gascon, former San Francisco district attorney.
“If Lacey loses to Gascon, maybe he’ll do for LA what he’s done for SF. Lacey seems to not want to change her ‘lock up everyone and throw away the key’ mentality,” said Bobby John, a San Quentin resident.
In Houston, incumbent prosecutor Kim Ogg faces a contested general election in November.
Mike Kennedy, a Texas native housed at SQ said, “I doubt Texas will ever have reform when it comes to criminal justice. It’s not as bad as Cali, but it clearly needs to work their (Texas courts) death penalty stance.”
In Chicago, Kim Foxx will face multiple challengers in the Democratic primary.
The historical nature of prosecutor elections is that they usually run unopposed and serve multiple terms. There are over 2,300 jurisdictions in America that have to vote for prosecutor positions, but only 700 jurisdictions presented the voters with a choice of candidates, according to the Daily News.
In 2015 the prison reform movement took a strong hold in state legislatures. There has been a notable shift in the national conversation about criminal justice, according to the article.
In his 2016 nomination acceptance speech, Pres. Donald Trump told the Republican National Convention that as president he would return the country to a “law and order” agenda. He now reportedly sees criminal justice reform as a way to woo African American voters, the article said.