Challenging Unopposed Prosecutors

 Photo: Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tombstone-courthouse-shp-courtroom.jpg

Photo: Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tombstone-courthouse-shp-courtroom.jpg

Candidates have been running on “law and order” platforms for decades in American politics. But now there’s a new wave of criminal justice reform candidates pledging to decriminalize or legalize marijuana (we know that marijuana arrests disproportionately target low-income people of color), hold police officers accountable for how they use deadly force, and seek alternatives to incarceration for low-level offenders. 

For these and other reforms, change begins with getting the right prosecutors (i.e., district attorneys or “DAs” at the city or county level) elected. These are the folks who determine the majority of prison sentences, deciding what to charge people with and who gets charged in the first place. And yet, the majority of DAs —who are overwhelmingly white and male—run unopposed. Today’s edition is all about dismantling mass incarceration one DA race at a time.

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