Stop Fearmongering About Progressive Prosecutors and Decarceral Policies

Stop Fearmongering About Progressive Prosecutors and Decarceral Policies


The Point

Larry Krasner’s clear win in the Philadelphia District Attorney primary election should have been a wake-up call to journalists who spent weeks breathlessly painting the race as a referendum on progressive prosecutors and their decarceral policies. Instead, they doubled down, redirecting their fearmongering to other cities. This reckless reporting needs to stop. 

Journalists must stop recklessly reporting on progressive prosecutors and decarceral policies:  

  • Stop speculating that progressive prosecutors and decarceral policies are to blame for rising crime. In “Can a Progressive Prosecutor Survive a 40% Spike in Homicides?”, The New York Times connected Krasner’s electability to the 2020 spike in homicides, despite acknowledging in the same piece that “[c]riminologists said it would be impossible to substantiate the claim that Mr. Krasner’s policies had led to more gun crime.” They were by no means alone.
  • Stop mindlessly transcribing the rants of police unions and prosecutor associations hoping to scare voters back into supporting the failed policies that created mass incarceration and bloated police budgets. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd gave perhaps the starkest example of this practice when she basically turned her column over to former police commissioner Bill Bratton to spew baseless allegations and promote his new book. In Dowd’s “Ex-Commish With the Dish,” readers were treated—without challenge—to his continued support for heavily criticized policies of the past, including stop-and-frisk, broken-windows policing, and the 1994 crime bill.
  • Stop perpetuating the false narrative that progressives are weak on crime and their opponents have the right answers. Voters are showing they know better. The Washington Post’s recent article, “With Violent Crime Spiking, the Push for Police Reform Collides with Voters’ Fears,” pointed to Krasner’s race and the special election for Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland’s former congressional seat as tests of voter tolerance for reform. Both Krasner and Democrat Melanie Stansbury defeated opponents who sought to exploit their commitment to reform by roughly 2-to-1.   

Progressive prosecutors and their decarceral policies have not caused crime spikes:

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