Criminal Justice Reform and Community Safety

Our criminal justice system at its core is designed to punish, not protect, communities of color. We must change this now.

We should live in a just and fair city, where everyone can feel safe and be treated equally under the law. We don’t live in that City today, and we must take stronger, bolder steps to create justice. I also have the experience of volunteering with the Parole Preparation Project, and I helped prepare incarcerated individuals to go in front of the Board of Parole, which made it even clearer to me that we need deep transformative change now.

  • We must decriminalize poverty, and stop arrests for acts like turnstile jumping. We must end broken windows. Despite claims to the contrary, broken windows policies continue, and we must end end them now.
  • The City must work to create more alternatives to policing. The NYPD is a hammer that sees everything as a nail. Instead of turning the NYPD into social workers, hire more social workers. Instead of requiring the NYPD to resolve minor conflicts, hire more conflict resolution professionals.
  • We must close Rikers, but not simply to keep the same people, mostly people of color who have not been convicted of any crime, locked up in our pretrial detention system and to build more jails to accommodate that system. We need to drive down incarceration, period.
  • The Civilian Complaint Review Board needs real power and independence so that its recommendations are binding and so that it can hold the NYPD accountable. For too long, CCRB has been hamstrung by the City and the NYPD, and unable to fulfill its critical oversight role.
  • We must continue to fight to decriminalize sex work in our City.
  • We will work with communities (particularly of color) to develop the policing strategies that respond to their needs.
  • Working with local and state leaders, we must ensure that we have a fully staffed Parole Board, building on the important work already accomplished by advocates from the impacted community. The lack of adequate staffing and board members with a true value for rehabilitation has kept far too many behind bars for decades. Locking people up and throwing away the key is not only anti-democratic, it is inhumane.