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Daniel Espinosa, Director of the Decarceration Campaign of People’s Action, a national organizing network, provided this statement today on the election of Larry Krasner as district attorney in Philadelphia:

“Today’s election of Larry Krasner as district attorney in the Democratic Party primary in Philadelphia is a major victory toward ending mass incarceration, punitive sentencing and criminalization of people of color. Philadelphia has long held the highest incarceration rate of the country’s 10 biggest cities. Mass incarceration policies, which became widespread in the early 1990s, have wrecked communities of color and made them less safe, destroyed the futures of millions of families, and burdened local and state budgets.

“In contrast to seeking convictions as the only measure of success, Krasner — a veteran civil rights attorney and public defender — has promised real justice rooted in solutions to community needs. He is committed to working with city leaders to end money bail, pledges not to seek the death penalty, and will push for treatment instead of punishment for those addicted to drugs. His recognition of the racism inherent in our existing court and policing systems is refreshing and even revolutionary.

“Krasner’s election continues a series of victories for aggressive reformers running for District Attorney around the country beginning in 2016, including Kim Foxx’s ouster of Anita Alvarez in Chicago. The Trump Administration and Jeff Sessions renewed “tough-on-crime” approach is wildly out-of-step with want the country wants. In both rural counties and big cities, jurisdictions in the North and South are rejecting the politics of mass incarceration and voting bold reformers into the office of District Attorney.”

Mike Lee, Executive Director of Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity (PLSE), a non-profit legal aid organization, holds expungement clinics that serves the city’s poorest neighborhoods, said about the election:

“We are excited that a platform for social justice is coming to our city through the election of a real reformer, Larry Krasner, who is on his way to becoming the next District Attorney. Every month, we work with hundreds of people impacted by criminal records who need help overcoming the enormous barriers that the criminal justice system and society have placed on them. Our work focuses on reminding people their personal history is more valuable than their criminal history — which is often a result of addiction to substances, and overzealous prosecution and policing.

“This approach to the criminal justice system is out of control and has led to mass incarceration and a city that is less stable and less safe. Krasner has been an ally of our community for over thirty years and we look forward to making real changes in matters of prosecutorial policy that will significantly reduce incarceration, criminalization and make us more just and safe.”

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About People’s Action Institute

Over five decades, People’s Action Institute and our affiliates have fought for reforms that recognize poor and working people’s dignity and make material and political improvements to millions of lives. Our victories include the Community Reinvestment Act, Superfund, the Affordable Care Act, the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act and the MAT Act.

We engage in issue campaigns, public education and training to advance a long-term agenda for racial, economic and gender justice. Our focus now is on deepening community organizing so we can build lasting power across the country. 

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