We will believe all people have value and can change.
Bryan Stevenson has said, “[E]ach of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.” I agree. A criminal act should not define a person for the rest of their lives. We will work to ensure that those we lock up are incarcerated for as short as is needed to protect our communities and support those who have reformed themselves in returning home. Excessive sentences with little to no chance of release on the horizon do not actually keep us safe; it just leads to countless people who are no longer a danger to society in our jails and prisons. By the time individuals reach their thirties, their odds of committing future crimes drop dramatically and recent studies have determined that whether a person is over the age of 50 is the “the most important predictor of lower recidivism rates.”
Accordingly, asking for any sentence longer than 20 years will be the exception. Also, my office will advocate for the release of all parole eligible people in prison over the age of 50 who no longer pose a danger to the community. Lastly, we will proactively seek out those our office has incarcerated who have been rehabilitated to assist them with returning to the community.