A local prosecutor’s race just set the national standard in the fight against mass incarceration.
Civil rights attorney Larry Krasner once joked that he was “completely unelectable.” But on Tuesday, he blew those expectations away: Despite opposition from much of the local criminal justice establishment, he won the race for Philadelphia’s district attorney.
The victory is a big deal not just because Krasner is a very progressive attorney that will shape local policy. It also signifies the exact kind of action that voters will have to take in the next few years and decades if they want to unravel mass incarceration.
Krasner’s victory had mostly been assured in a Democratic stronghold like Philadelphia once he won the party’s primary back in May. But even back then, he stood out.
The other candidates in the primary race ran on relatively progressive platforms, but Krasner had the strongest progressive record on criminal justice issues. He has sued law enforcement and government agencies more than 75 times, and he had worked for Black Lives Matter, Occupy Philly, and protesters at the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.
As Holly Otterbein wrote in Philadelphia magazine at the time, the primary was a surprising turn of events for a city that’s known for some of the toughest criminal justice policies in the nation, and whose district attorney’s office has been mired by scandal — District Attorney Seth Williams left office and pleaded guilty to bribery charges earlier this year. After the primary, Otterbein wrote:
It is a stunning victory in a city that elected Lynne Abraham — once dubbed the “deadliest DA” in America by the New York Times — four times in a row. Krasner campaigned on the most progressive agenda of all the candidates, promising to end “mass incarceration” by effectively starving the Read More Here