Manhattan’s new district attorney has unveiled a sweeping new policy to reduce prison sentences as a penalty and downgrade or dismiss charges for many felony crimes.
Bragg said in his memo that offenses like marijuana misdemeanors, prostitution, resisting arrest, and fare-dodging would no longer be prosecuted.
The new Distract Attorney instructed prosecutors to stop seeking prison sentences for most crimes. The exceptions would be homicides, assaults resulting in serious injury, domestic violence felonies resulting in serious injury, sex offenses, and public corruption.
The directive for reduced penalties comes amid concerns of a surge in crime in New York City.
Crime statistics published in December by the NYPD showed that shootings and grand larceny have nearly doubled, with murder up 50 percent in the city since 2019.
Amid the changes announced by Bragg, prosecutors have also been told not to seek bail requirements for suspects awaiting trial.
The memo also points to instances where charges may need to be reduced, including armed robbery and drug dealing.
Bragg also vowed to stop prosecuting many low-level offenses, including subway turnstile jumping, prostitution, and trespassing. He also has promised to continue a standing policy of declining to prosecute marijuana possession.
New York’s new mayor, Eric Adams, a former NYPD cop whose mayoral campaign focused on being tough on crime, supports Bragg in his new role as DA.
“I believe that he’s going to be a good district attorney, and I’m going to sit down and have a conversation with him as we build out what we need to do around public safety,” the mayor said at a press conference on Tuesday.
In just his first few hours as mayor, Adams had to confront New York City’s spiraling crime problem while using public transportation to arrive at City Hall. During the ride, he had to stop and call 9-1-1 to report an assault in progress.
— myles miller (@MylesMill) January 1, 2022
Adams has replaced former Mayor Bill de Blasio, who left behind a city plagued with rising crime and a weakened police force.