Criminal justice reform front-and-center in New York’s 14th Congressional District

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had a victory heard around the country on June 26, becoming the Democratic nominee in New York’s 14th Congressional District, which encompasses parts of the Bronx and Queens. Ocasio-Cortez is heavily favored to win the general election. She published an essay on the “urgency of criminal justice reform,” tying it to her Catholic faith and forgiveness, on the day after her primary win.

In challenging Representative Joe Crowley, Ocasio-Cortez campaigned on a goal of reducing the country’s prison population by 50 percent. She was also among the first congressional candidates to call for the abolition of ICE, a stance with which Crowley disagrees. Crowley and Ocasio-Cortez do share many important reform proposals, including closing Rikers Island, expunging past marijuana convictions, closing private prisons, and adopting Medicare for All. Ocasio-Cortez and advocates who support her fault Crowley for being insufficiently active in pushing for such positions, and for backing measures that contradict them, such as the “Blue Lives Matter” bill opposed by organizations like the ACLU and the NAACP that overwhelmingly passed the House in May. Ocasio-Cortez also ties the fight against mass incarceration with a reduction in economic marginalization through proposals like a federal jobs guarantee.

Ocasio-Cortez will face Republican Anthony Pappas in the general election.

This preview is part of our 2018 election coverage.