A leading voice in criminal justice reform
As your District Attorney, I vigorously pursue justice in a way that is fair and treats everyone equally and with respect. Justice lives in the process as well as the result. The way we get convictions is as important as getting the convictions. That is why I started a nationally renowned Conviction Integrity Unit to ensure the most ethical, transparent and Constitutional prosecution practices. My mission is not only to prosecute the guilty because accountability mandates it, but when necessary, to exonerate the innocent because justice demands it.
Violent criminals, like robbers, gangsters, rapists, and murderers, must be sent to prison, and kept in prison to protect society. However, low level offenders, like petty thieves and drug addicts, should not. I was proud to support Proposition 47, which kept low-level, non-violent offenders out of prison. We must find ways to hold these non-violent offenders accountable, yet offer them the opportunity to rehabilitate themselves and become productive members of our community. This is why I started diversion programs that keep low level offenders out of the criminal justice system, and in treatment programs where they have a second chance to change their ways and become good citizens.
Of course, preventing crime in the first place, is better than prosecuting it later. This is why I expanded our Parent Project, which has helped thousands of parents of at-risk teenagers become better parents. This program has strengthened families and kept kids in school, out of gangs, and on track for success.
We must help crime victims heal and get back on their feet . This means getting full restitution and counseling services for those victimized by criminals. When a person has been victimized by crime, it tears a hole in their heart and in the fabric of our community. When we help the crime victim heal, we also strengthen the ties that bind all of us together in a civilized and compassionate society. That is why I created a Victim Services Unit within the DA's Office to work full time for crime victims, to help them regain their well-being and move forward with their lives.
Interestingly, on paper, the demographics of a crime victim and an offender look much the same. Statistics tell us they both are more than likely to be poor, to be minorities, to have experienced violence or trauma as children, and to be victims of multiple crimes in the past. We have to do better to see these two groups of people as people. People who sometimes fit within both groups. People we can help in more ways to keep them out of either group. That kind of justice? Well, that's just smart.