Prosecutors are immensely powerful, especially now, after the overthrow of Roe. They decide which cases to bring, what charges to make and what sentences to ask for. Until this year, only internal committees could investigate misconduct, even after hundreds of exonerations and allegations of abuse. After years of grassroots effort, New York now has an independent commission, but the process was hard, and there’s still no power to punish. In this episode, reporter Kizzy Cox reports on how New York’s new Independent Commission on Prosecutorial Misconduct came to be, and Laura talks with Andrea James, executive director for the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, and Sakira Cook, Co-Interim Vice President at Color of Change, about what prosecutors can do, or not do, especially when it comes to implementing new abortion bans.
“I’m not trying to indict every district attorney, I’m sure that there’s probably some good ones who really go to work to do their job and be fair, but for those , there should be a system in place, to make those bad District Attorneys terrified to do anything wrong.” –Roger Clark, Community Activist, VOCAL-NY
“Reform is a high priority for us in our movement to reimagine safety in America and redefine, or transform, the way that the criminal legal system operates in our country.” –Sakira Cook, Co-Interim Vice President at Color of Change “What’s the appropriate accountability for somebody that locked you up for 25 years, and took away your whole life?…This commission is the right thing to do. I’m proud of it” –Derrick Hamilton, Co-founder, Family & Friends of the Wrongfully Convicted
“Commissions are absolutely necessary because who else, but the people who are most directly affected—the people like myself who have been to a prison, the people like Sakira, who have family, who they have been caring for and loving who have been in prisons for decades—who else can raise these issues and expand the dialogue about what’s necessary?” –Andrea James, Executive Director, National Council for Incarcerated & Formerly Incarcerated Women & Girls
- Bill Bastuk: National Chair, It Could Happen to You
- Sakira Cook: Co-Interim Vice President, Color of Change
- Roger Clark: Community Activist, VOCAL-NY
- Nick Encalada-Malinowski: Civil Rights Campaigns Director, VOCAL-NY
- Derrick Hamilton: Co-founder: Family & Friends of the Wrongfully Convicted
- Andrea James: Executive Director: National Council for Incarcerated & Formerly Incarcerated Women & Girls
- David Soares: District Attorney, Albany County, NY
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