The Justice & Safety Alliance aims to create a District Attorney’s office that is ethical, equitable, transparent, and accountable to all Shelby County residents. Our community is in the midst of an incarceration crisis, and we cannot police or incarcerate our way out of systemic inequality. Instead, our DA should be a leader in reform efforts that make Shelby County safer by redirecting resources to evidence-based crime prevention programs and victims support services. By pledging to adopt the following reforms, the DA can act to keep all our residents safe.
Abide by the Highest Ethical Standards, Ensure Transparency & Insist on Accountability
- Establish Conviction Integrity Unit
- Establish transparent policies regarding eligibility for diversion and other DA programs.
- Make all internal policies relevant to prosecutorial process, discretion, and eligibility for diversion or any other DA programs available and accessible by posting online (with translations and other accessibility features) and by providing paper copies to detainees currently housed at the jail.
- Commitment to collect demographic data (including race, gender, and orientation) associated with all charges, plea offers, conviction, ultimate disposition, and the result of any motions.
- Commitment to share this data through a publicly accessible dashboard.
- Commitment to collect, review, and eliminate racial disparities in prosecution with input from community members.
Hold Police Accountable for Misconduct
- Commitment to holding the police accountable by creating a committee that is responsive to families who have encountered police misconduct and killings.
- Create and make available to defense counsel a “Do Not Call” list for officers with a history of misconduct, dishonesty, racism or bias. Make this list available to the public by posting online along with specific criteria that determine how an officer’s name gets added to this list.
End Cash Bail and Limit the Use of Pretrial Detention
- Support ongoing efforts to reform the way pretrial detention decisions are made
- Commit to staffing open hearings where cash bail or conditions of pretrial release are considered
- Only seek intrusive conditions of release or cash bail based on strong evidence of a serious risk of flight of danger to others, based on individual circumstances in a given case.
- Identify charges, risk levels, and other metrics for which the office will support recognizance release.
- Measure the effectiveness of pretrial release based on data/indicators for success
- If a plea offer is to time served, the defendant is immediately released, regardless of bond/detention status.
Adopt Youth Justice Policies that Center Children and Their Families
- Create, support, and promote programming and restorative, age-appropriate responses to children accused of delinquent acts
- Commit to reduce the number of notices of transfers to adult court
- Refrain from filing notices of transfer as leverage in negotiations
- End the use of bond recommendations as leverage for waiver of transfer hearings
- Support expungement of Juvenile Court records
- Reform Juvenile Court Practices re: discovery, end transfers, treat kids like kids, discretion
- Close the Juvenile Detention Center and redirect resources to Community Restorative Justice Center for Youth and Families
Only Pursue Charges and Sentences that are Restorative and Cost-Effective
- Pledge not to seek the death penalty
- Eliminate the Special Prosecution Unit
- Make Pre-Booking Diversion the Rule: Expand eligibility for diversion before booking, prior to filing charges, and before plea agreements, avoiding incarceration and e-carceration
- Charge with restraint, only submitting for indictment that which can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by admissible evidence
- Transparency around current partnerships and a commitment to end collaboration with federal agencies to target specific communities with surveillance and overly-punitive responses (Immigration/ICE, Multi-Agency Gang Unit)
- Protect workers by prosecuting employers who commit fraud, steal wages and violate labor laws.
- Include community members and someone with defense experience in the charging/screening process.
- Numeric decarceration commitment.
Prioritize Healing and Restorative Solutions for ALL Survivors
- Working in partnership with communities, support Restorative Justice and Community Accountability programs and practices that center survivors to repair harm, support post-traumatic healing, and restore community relationships.
- Working in partnership with communities, implement alternatives to incarceration like Community-based Violence Intervention Models (CBVI) that provide wraparound supports and treatment, particularly for defendants with histories of trauma, mental illness, substance abuse, and disability.