Criminal Justice Reform Platform

New Kings Democrats (NKD) stand for the principles of transparency, accountability, inclusionary democracy, and equity. NKD advocates for public policies that adhere to the rights enshrined in the New York State Constitution, based on due process and equal protection under the law. 

To begin to address the systemic issues of the criminal justice system in New York City, we must interrogate all three structures: law enforcement, courts, and corrections. We believe in the rapid remediation of the damage done by the criminal justice system, which disproportionately impacts marginalized and politically disenfranchised individuals. 

Aligning with Communities United for Police Reform, NKD values a public safety model, beyond policing, based on respect for and holistic investment in communities, including: 

  • An end to discriminatory policing practices [1] 
  • Transparent NYPD budget process and the redirection of NYPD funds to core service programs and critical care services [2] provided by agencies unaffiliated with policing 
  • Accountability to, and engagement with, the public especially in communities most impacted by abusive policing 
  • An end to qualified immunity 

NKD believes in a court system that operates as a transparent organization responsive to the communities it serves through:  

  • A restorative model of justice that entrusts community safety to community-based and community-led services [3]
  • Limiting terms for the District Attorney's office
  • Ensuring prosecutors publish and follow arrest and charging guidelines, so the public, crime victims and accused people understand why certain arrests move to legal proceedings (i.e. why someone is prosecuted) 
  • Publicly available statistics on warrant applications and bail requests 
  • Requiring all candidates for state judge to be admitted to the NYS Bar

NKD believes in the full restoration of rights for those impacted by the criminal justice system and the decarceration of New York prisons and jails. We seek progressive action to protect people of color, immigrants and all New Yorkers through: 

  • Ensuring human rights and dignity to all incarcerated New Yorkers
  • Elimination of parole and probation fees, as well as predatory court fees 
  • Restoration of services for incarcerated individuals, including access to TAP 
  • Decriminalization of sex work and sale/possession of substance use tools (i.e. syringes)
  • Release of incarcerated individuals in state prisons as a result of technical parole violations related to positive drug tests [4]

NKD seeks a more just and safe borough, city, and state and will work to support candidates, legislation, and policies in line with these principles. The ultimate goal of these reforms is racial and economic justice for all.

Adopted September 2021. 

[1] Examples of discriminatory police practices include: (1) databases that categorize citizens based on undisclosed and/or unproven accusations, including, but not limited to, the NYPD Gang Database, (2) NYPD officers serving as ICE agents, and (3) Stop and Frisk. 

[2] Examples of critical care services include violence interruption programs, mental health clinics, and needle exchange programs. 

[3] The operating model of the Red Hook Community Justice Center is one example of restorative justice. For more read our explainer here.

[4] According to Columbia University researchers, an estimated 40% of state prison admissions are individuals whose parole was revoked as a result of technical violations, including curfew infractions and positive drug tests.  These individuals are not eligible for marijuana expungement provisions of the new NYS law.

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