The Kings County District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said that Brooklyn is uniquely positioned to take on this endeavor as a true partnership with community organizations and leaders – and serve as a blueprint for reform that can be emulated across the country. The borough is safer than it’s ever been as 2017 ended with the lowest number of homicides and shootings since record-keeping began. The late DA Ken Thompson and DA Gonzalez have put in place notable reform-minded programs, such as a bail policy that decreased reliance on cash bail, an immigration policy aimed at minimizing collateral consequences of criminal convictions, a Conviction Review Unit that’s considered a national model, and an initiative to vacate hundreds of thousands of outstanding summons warrants that were generated due to failures to pay fines for minor infractions.
Justice 2020 will build on these strong foundations, representing the first time that the people of Brooklyn are asked to actively participate in reforming their criminal justice system. Importantly, any reforms implemented as part of the initiative will not compromise public safety, which remains the DA’s highest priority.
The Launch Committee, which has over 60 members, is divided into sub-committees that focus on different facets of the justice system in Brooklyn, including: alternatives to prosecution and restorative justice; mental health; case handling reforms; violence prevention and gun strategies; civil rights and policing; data and transparency; professional responsibility and conviction integrity; among others. The Committee’s purpose is to provide fresh, outside perspectives and ideas to help the DA advance his vision and reform agenda. Each member brings significant expertise and experience to the task; many are nationally recognized experts in their fields.