From top to bottom, California’s criminal justice system is infected with racial bias. Communities of color are policed more heavily than white, affluent communities. Inherent racial bias plays a hidden role in how prosecutors make charging decisions, how plea negotiations play out, how judges sentence, and how juries weigh evidence. The consequence of our flawed and unjust system is that communities of color, especially Black families and children, have suffered the worst devastation from our system of mass incarceration.
In the context of historical oppression, we must strive to end overcriminalization and ensure fair treatment of all people. In order to do so, we must proactively acknowledge the harms the criminal justice system has wreaked on communities of color, especially Black communities. In addition, we must proactively work to transform the system to end these racial disparities.
As the gatekeepers into the criminal justice system, DAs play a critical role in the transformation needed to repair, remedy and restore communities of color.