By Ruby Chavez and Madison Forwood
LOS ANGELES – After congratulating George Gascón on his victory as LA County District Attorney over incumbent Jackie Lacey last week, the Los Angeles DA Accountability Coalition (DAAC) is pressing an aspiring agenda for improvement in the DA’s office.
DAAC is a coalition of local justice reform organizations, artists, organizers, and those precisely impacted by the criminal legal system. For the past year and a half, the DAAC has been building public awareness about the power of the DA’s office, encouraging voter participation in this essential election.
With the election over, the DAAC is now focused on encouraging greater transparency and accountability for the district attorney’s office by promoting serious reforms, after the long history of racism and mass incarceration in Los Angeles.
Molly Greene, a member of the DAAC Steering Committee, expressed the enthusiasm on behalf of the coalition, noting, “We have been thrilled at the level of local and national attention on this race, which both encouraged and reflected a heightened public awareness of both the power and discretion that a DA has…now that the races has been resolved, we intend to make sure that this awareness translates into continued accountability.”
In an effort to pursue more progressive policies, the DAAC is insisting that the LA District Attorney’s Office adopt new policy objectives while carrying out their legal duties.
The seven prongs of the new policy objectives include racial justice, decarceration, juvenile awareness, data transparency, police accountability, immigration protections and increasing pretrial justice for defendants.
For each desired policy objective, the coalition offered a brief description and specific ideals.
According to DAAC, the pursuit of racial justice concerns the acknowledgement of racial disparities and an attempt to bridge gaps that exist in communities. Decarceration also involves an ongoing effort to reduce the incarceration numbers by the year 2024 within the LA area.
A beneficial way to reduce incarceration rates, said DAAC, would be through an increase in pretrial justice by offering reduced bail, lifting release restrictions, and advocating for “need-based” assessments. The policy objective would require that LA police utilize a thoughtful, and individualistic perspective when dealing with a multitude of people.
This also includes juvenile awareness, meaning “treat kids like kids.” This objective is meant to advocate for juveniles to be sent on a path of beneficial assistance rather than punishment.
In terms of transparency toward crime statistics, police accountability, and immigration protections, the DAAC advocates for strong policy objective reforms.
The coalition felt that the LA DA should commit to “[t]he creation of an independent oversight body and advisory board, and strengthen conviction review and integrity measures.” DAAC also urges the district attorney’s office to pay close attention and account for misconduct, brutality and killings on behalf of law enforcement.
The coalition also has strong support for protective immigration policies for the DA’s office. These objectives would concern a broad oversight of the actions taken by district attorneys to ensure proper context of individual cases.
The intention of the DAAC is to continue engaging with the public and the district attorney’s office in pursuance of a further equitable criminal legal system that serves all Los Angeles citizens.
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