Krasner Accuses PA Prosecutors of Regressive Policies

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Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has withdrawn his office from Pennsylvania’s largest prosecutors’ association, saying the group has supported regressive or overly punitive policies and represented “the voice of the past,” reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Krasner, whose first 11 months in office have attracted national attention for his reform-driven agenda, said he believed that the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association was at least partly responsible for an explosion in the state’s prison population over several decades, and that it continues to back ideas that would make the problem worse. “They have been claiming that Philadelphia supports this absolute nonsense, this throwback set of policies, and we do not,” Krasner said at an “Innovation in Prosecution” conference at the University of Pennsylvania. He added: “The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association will not claim legitimacy of its most important criminal justice jurisdiction and try to take us back 40 years. No.”

Richard Long, the group’s director, said he was “disappointed, but not surprised” by Krasner’s remarks, which he called “a troubling misrepresentation of our organization and the dedicated prosecutors who protect our communities.” The group, with 1,200 members, offers training sessions, holds annual meetings, and lobbies for criminal justice-related legislation. Long said Krasner “has made it very clear that he would rather use the PDAA as a political straw man than engage Pennsylvania’s 66 other district attorneys of both parties in a productive conversation.” He added that “the level of vitriol Mr. Krasner is directing at our members and how they go about their business is divisive and unproductive.” In his talk, Krasner said, “We have a motivated bunch of rural counties — motivated — who want to have our Philadelphians, often black and brown Philadelphians, in their jails, because it gives them power, it gives them money.”

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