Prosecutors from around U.S. support George Gascón for District Attorney of Los Angeles.
We are fifteen progressive District Attorneys who have benefited enormously from George Gascón’s leadership as the San Francisco District Attorney. Long before most people ever imagined that there could be an elected District Attorney who pushed for less incarceration and more freedom, Gascón began doing just that in San Francisco. His vision predated the “progressive prosecutor” movement, and he has become our teacher in it. From the moment he took office in 2011, Gascón developed innovative solutions to move people out of the legal system, to dramatically reduce unnecessary incarceration, and to help build people up and provide second chances. He will do the same in Los Angeles. We encourage all Angelenos to vote for Gascón. You will not regret it.
Gascón was one of the first prosecutors in the country to move people accused of non-serious offenses out of jail and prison. He developed a pre-booking diversion program that placed people accused of drug offenses into treatment and support systems instead of into jail. Before he took office, drug cases represented over 60% of the D.A.s work; three years into his term, drug cases made up just 25% of his docket. He developed a neighborhood court system that likewise removed people from the path into jail and prison, and paired people with social workers who could assist in connecting individuals with services that address root causes of crime.
These and other policies had serious implications for incarceration levels. In just the first five years of his term, the jail population fell from over 1700 people to just over 1100. Under his watch, the rate of people under community supervision fell to just 1/3 the national rate, as did the rate of people in jail and prison. If the rest of the country followed Gascón’s lead in pushing for decarceration, one study reported, mass incarceration would no longer exist.
Gascón also set an example as a leader pushing for criminal justice reform at the legislature, and he did it at the time where he had no top-prosecutor allies in the state. The California District Attorney’s Association has always opposed criminal justice reform, even modest reforms like marijuana legalization. Gascón quickly filled this vacuum in Sacramento, co-authoring one of the most significant propositions in state history. Proposition 47 reclassified certain felonies as misdemeanors and permitted people in prison for those offenses to petition for resentencing. Gascón pushed for this legislation even though he knew he would face tremendous opposition from the state’s powerful police unions and the other elected prosecutors. The proposition passed and it helped bring the state’s prison population down to 1994 levels. California has Gascón to thank for the benefits of Proposition 47, including the economic savings the state needs badly right now.
Because he took up the case of reform, Gascón has experienced the wrath of the police unions ever since. He remains, however, undeterred, and is consistently one of the few law enforcement voices in Sacramento who loudly and forcefully pushes for legislative change to lift up communities, make it easier to hold police accountable, and ensure that there are fewer in-roads to the criminal justice system and more ways out of it after people have grown and changed.
Achieving reform in the criminal legal system is extremely difficult. There is constant push-back, from the police, often from the courts, and from legislators more comfortable with the status quo. The attacks on those pushing for change can be vitriolic; many of us have received death threats. It is important, therefore, to elect officials who not only claim to care about change and the community, but who are battle-tested in some way and have a record of achieving the change we so badly need. George Gascón is that person. He is the father of the movement for prosecutors to end mass incarceration, he has been our teacher, and we believe he can lead Los Angeles as it attempts to rethink what keeps communities safe and just.
We hope people will vote for George Gascón. We need more leaders like him.
Aramis Ayala, State Attorney, Ninth Judicial Circuit, Florida
Diana Becton, District Attorney, Contra Costa County
Sherry Boston, District Attorney, DeKalb County, Georgia
Chesa Boudin, District Attorney, San Francisco, California
Aisha Braveboy, State’s Attorney, Prince George’s County, Maryland
John Creuzot, District Attorney, Dallas County, Texas
Satana Deberry, District Attorney, Durham County, North Carolina
Kim Foxx, State’s Attorney, Cook County, Illinois
Kimberly Gardner, Circuit Attorney, City of St. Louis, Missouri
Joe Gonzales, District Attorney, Bexar County, Texas
Lawrence Krasner, District Attorney, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Stephanie Morales, Commonwealth’s Attorney, City of Portsmouth, Virginia
Marilyn J. Mosby, State’s Attorney, Baltimore City, Maryland
Rachael Rollins, District Attorney, Suffolk County, Massachusetts
Lynneice Washington, District Attorney, Bessemer County, AL