The Citizens of NYC have, as the result of litigation against the NYPD, paid out over $500 million dollars in settlement claims! However, people of color, in low income communities are still being disproportionately brutalized at the hands of the NYPD. The repeal of 50a was a step in the right direction, but we must take it even further. Sierra will work with his colleagues in the City Council on criminal justice reform policies that will hold members of the NYPD accountable for any inappropriate acts. Events of the recent past have demonstrated that the criminal justice system in NYC lacks fairness on many levels. We have seen members of our community commit suicide, die from neglect, and suffer other horrors as the direct result of interaction with the existing criminal justice system. This is not the restorative justice reform that Sierra feels is needed and essential for us to move toward. We need policy that takes into account broad circumstances around any member of our city who is accused or convicted of a crime.
The City Council, as the key law and policy making body of New York City can help to execute a fairer system of accountability by listening to those who have been, and are presently incarcerated. Incorporating these first hand experiences into the crafting of policies and laws that will make the system more restorative and fair, and equitable, will be a cornerstone of improving the current system. We need to understand that those accused and convicted of committing crimes are still our family members, neighbors, and friends, and most importantly, human beings. Even in the wake of mistakes, they must still be treated as such.
Sierra’s long term vision for the criminal justice system in NY is one that takes all of the above into account and effectuates policies and laws that help move us closer to that more restorative and fair treatment which will improve the overall impact on our entire community.