By Caleigh Carlisle
ARLINGTON, VA – Real Justice PAC has published an endorsement of Parisa Dehghani-Tafti for her re-election for Commonwealth’s Attorney of Arlington County and the city of Falls Church, Virginia.
Real Justice PAC was founded in 2017 to aid in the elections of “civil rights-minded prosecutors who use the powers of their office to reduce mass incarceration, police violence and injustice.” Since its establishment, the PAC has endorsed 64 candidates, and 35 were elected. Real Justice PAC first endorsed Dehghani-Tafti in 2018.
Since taking office in 2019, Dehghani-Tafti, a former public defender, has instituted new policies and programs for the incarcerated.
According to Real Justice PAC, her accomplishments include “ending the prosecution of simple possession of marijuana, reducing the jail population by 30 percent, and ending the criminalization of people with mental health and substance use disorder.”
On Dehghani-Tafti’s re-election website, she wrote “[W]e implemented a mental health docket that does not require anyone to plead to a criminal offense before getting help. We’ve already had a number of graduates and the program is over capacity.”
Dehghani-Tafti has also partnered with the Vera Institute for Justice, an organization devoted to working with local organizations and legislators in order to end mass incarceration and provide solutions for its detrimental effects.
Dehghani-Tafti has also created a conviction review unit to investigate and protect against false convictions, and pioneered a policy to stop the use of peremptory strikes during jury selections to make “juries truly representative of the community” – Real Justice PAC notes this is the first policy in the U.S. to prevent the usage of peremptory strikes.
The organization reported that in Dehghani-Tafti’s jurisdiction, homicides dropped 50 percent, a stark contrast to the 30 percent increase nationwide, and noted, “In 2021 and for about 16 months, Arlington County and the City of Falls Church recorded zero homicides.”
As stated by Real Justice PAC, in August 2021, an effort to recall Dehghani-Tafti from her position began. Supporters of the recall believed her policies have made Arlington County less safe.
According to the Washington Post, Dehghani-Tafti said the recall effort lacked legitimacy. She wrote, “They couldn’t (and can’t) win at the ballot box so are trying to impose their own will through a political end run around the democratic process.”
Despite these recall efforts, Dehghani-Tafti will continue to run for re-election. The primary election will be held on June 2.
Real Justice PAC concluded, “We know that Parisa will continue building a better justice system that keeps us safe, treats everyone fairly, and reflects the values of the community, and we are motivated to make sure she is re-elected.”