A progressive Philadelphia prosecutor is pointing to his reelection as proof that America continues to support criminal justice reform.
Larry Krasner, the Philadelphia County district attorney, overcame a vigorous opposition campaign to win 67% of the vote, said The Crime Report.
“The election results speak for themselves — it’s stunning,” Krasner told journalists participating in a webinar series organized by the Center for Media, Crime, and Justice, publisher of The Crime Report.
Krasner is a former defense attorney who is part of a rising tide of progressive DAs who are helping to implement criminal justice reform, The Crime Report noted.
“We are simply the lawyers, the technicians who have been selected by a movement to do what the (people) want,” Krasner said.
He cited statistics showing the number of people in the nation represented by progressive DAs went from 10% to over 20% in the last two years, primarily in larger, more urban jurisdictions.
Krasner touted his implementation of measures to reduce or forgo jail time for non-felony crimes and for juvenile offenders, and claimed that this has “cut in half the years of incarceration generated by Philadelphia County courts.”
Some legislators and police have opposed his policies, saying he is risking public safety, according to The Crime Report. Krasner points to the strength of his re-election in answering his critics.
Criminal justice reform is vital for saving democracy, Krasner said. “When you have criminal justice reform on the ballot…you see tremendous turnouts of unlikely voters, never-voters, or brand-new voters.”
Krasner highlighted that as more and more people are incarcerated, more people become justice-involved because someone they know or love has been impacted by the mass incarceration system.
“What happens when you become the most carceral country in the world is almost everybody’s been to high school with somebody who ended up in jail too long, or dated somebody or a friend or a coworker, or knows the grandmother of somebody down the street.”
Politicians, he said, ignore this continuing and building demand for criminal justice reform at their own peril.
“If the progressive prosecutors became a political party, they would be outdoing the Democrats and Republicans every damn day,” he commented.