1. Making low-level first offenses civil, not criminal:
In 2016 the New York City Council passed the Criminal Justice Reform Act, a series of laws that were passed to counter the growing number of criminal summonses that were issued for petty crimes such as open containers, trespassing in parks after hours, littering and loitering. These summonses would often result in arrest warrants for missed court dates or even a permanent criminal record. Councilman Vincent Gentile was a supporter of these laws and voted in support for their passage. This attempt to give first time low level nonviolent offenders a chance to keep their record clean and avoid career work problems later in life is one way Vincent has worked to give people hope. That’s the type of hope Vincent Gentile will continue to give Brooklynites as District Attorney.
2. Expand Community Based Sanctions
Community Based Sanctions applies an alternative sentencing approach to criminal cases involving non-violent behavior. By equipping judges and prosecutors with an increased array of sentencing options, Community Based Solutions seeks to impose a positive alternative sentence rather than a short-term incarceration stay. Properly run community based sanctions in the Bronx, for example, has reduced the misdemeanor jail population by 30%. It’s time we work on that in Brooklyn. Vincent has voted in support for a variety of community based sanctions in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s past budgets, and believes he can do far more in this area as District Attorney.
As District Attorney, Vincent would:
- Lead a coalition to gain additional support and funding for Community Based Sanctions
- Expand the use of positive alternative sentencing for nonviolent offenders to help address jail overcrowding
- Increase the use of local community courts
- Expand the use of treatment centers and new treatment into sentencing
- Expand the use of work based community service as a sentence for nonviolent crimes
- Direct into appropriate programs deferred prosecution of drug-addicted and mentally ill defendants
3. Right to Know Act
Councilmember Vincent Gentile knows that interactions between police and the public can at times be tense. Yet he knows that “CPR”- Civility, professionalism and respect is always the best policy. Therefore Vincent supports the legislative package known as the “Right to Know Act” to promote and mandate civility in police and public interactions. The Right to Know Act includes legislation that requires an open and transparent procedure be followed in every interaction and ensures certain rights are protected in warrantless searches. As District Attorney, Vincent would advocate for this bill until it became law.
4. Community based outreach
Prior to Ken Thompson, the Brooklyn DA’s office had a checkered past that often times neglected to inspire the people of Brooklyn and give them the hope they deserve. As District Attorney, Vincent Gentile believes we need to take a different more thoughtful approach to the DA’s office, and empower it to become a vehicle of hope. This means using the power of the office to build stronger relationships with the community, providing economic advancement and bringing new programs and employment to Brooklyn, and becoming more involved in encouraging youth engagement and diversion from the criminal justice system.
As District Attorney, Vincent would:
- Be a promoter of new business and employment opportunities to come to areas of Brooklyn that most need it
- Make better use of the District Attorney’s Office of Public Engagement
- Take a more active role in the Department of Education’s Back on Track program