Prosecutors have used their power to pack jails and prisons. And it has taken decades, billions of dollars, and thousands of laws to turn the United States into the largest incarcerator in the world. DAs are going against the will of the people to maintain a broken criminal justice system.
Nine out of ten voters – from both sides of the aisle – want prosecutors to prioritize alternatives to incarceration. It’s clear there’s a vast disconnect between public opinion and prosecutors’ actions. And in a democracy, it’s not supposed to work like that. We have the power to make real change at the ballot box this fall. But too many people aren’t aware that we the people elect DAs – and that our votes have the potential to transform our broken criminal justice system.
The most powerful person in the criminal justice system is the district attorney – an elected official who will decide your fate if you ever have a run-in with the law.This video is part of a series, presented by the ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice and Brooklyn Defender Services, shows how prosecutors can single-handedly transform the broken American criminal justice system. The videos feature Deray McKesson (activist and Black Lives Matter founder), Nina Morrison (The Innocence Project), Baratunde Thurston (Author and Comedian), Adam Foss (a former prosecutor), Scott Hechinger (Brooklyn Defender Services), John Pfaff (professor and author of Locked In), Josie Duffy-Rice (Fair Punishment Project), and Brandon Buskey (ACLU). To sign up for ACLU action alerts on ending mass incarceration, text SMARTJUSTICE to 82623. This fall, over 1,000 DAs are up for election throughout the country. But did you know that prosecutors also have the power to dismantle this machine — even without changing a single law? Prosecutors have the power to flood jails and prisons, ruin lives, and deepen racial disparities with the stroke of a pen. But they also have the discretion to do the opposite. This video explores the power of prosecutors to continue to drive mass incarceration — or end it.
Watch and share this video explaining how prosecutors like the DA use their unchecked power to perpetuate mass incarceration – and are rarely held accountable.