For the people
Organizing to end mass incarceration and criminalization and to hold the Wayne County Prosecutor accountable for their role in it.
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office should work in the interest of justice, not
racking up convictions. Learn More
End the War on Drugs
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office should refuse to prosecute drug possession and encourage change in public policy to address drug addiction as a public health matter.
End Cash Bail
Cash bail criminalizes poverty and does nothing for public safety. Learn More
Care Not Criminalization
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office must end the practice of prosecuting mental illness and drug addiction. Learn More
Treat kids like kids
Wayne County is a national epicenter for juvenile life sentences as one of the top five counties in the country for throwing away the key on children. In accordance with the US Supreme Court Decision Miller vs. Alabama which banned these cases, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office should resentence all juvenile lifers and commit to banning this cruel and unlawful practice.
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office should refuse to take cases from police patrolling inside schools and should instead encourage schools to adopt restorative practices and improve school environments instead of criminalizing their students.
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office should have a trauma-centered approach to kids and encourage community intervention instead of prosecuting kids for ….
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office should make diversion the rule instead of juvenile detention when taking cases of youth who have allegedly committed crimes.
No child under the age of 18 should ever be charged with a crime as an adult.
Rehabilitation Not Punishment
When there are serious crimes involved, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office should focus on sentences of rehabilitation instead of retribution and excessive punishments. It should make charging decisions and sentence recommendations to limit sentences of incarceration to a maximum of 20 years and where good time credit and early release are always possible.
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office should work to reduce mass supervision and make it less punitive. Probation should never be longer than a year and should be based on incentives instead of punishments. The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office should reject the use of surveillance and electronic monitoring which are faulty and reinforce punishment instead of rehabilitation.
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office should refuse to prosecute technical violations of probation or parole.
The criminal legal system is bloated and a major drain on public resources and programs. The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office should work to consolidate and reduce the scope of punishment and use it’s political influence to push for investment of public dollars into healthcare, education and infrastructure.
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office should close the Narcotics Unit which has a history of corruption parallel to the plague of corruption in Detroit Police Narcotics Unit corruption (Karen Plant). This unit is also an old vestige of the failed War on Drugs that should be left in the past.
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office should stop prosecuting crimes of poverty, including sex work and homelessness.
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office should reject evidence from facial recognition software and other hi-tech interventions that reinforce racism and further structural racism and mass incarceration.
Increase Fairness & Transparency
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office must dramatically change its culture from retribution and punishment to compassion and restorative justice. The office must center the needs of survivors instead of the political aspirations of prosecutors that exploit victims’ names and stories without addressing their needs for healing.
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office must work to identify and change the prosecutorial practices that are most responsible for anti-Black outcomes in the criminal legal system. The office must closely examine its relationship to policing practices, criminal statutes, and who and how it makes felony charges. Many crimes are crimes of poverty that shouldn’t be felonized or prosecuted at all by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. Instead the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office should look more closely at white collar crimes and environmental crimes that destroy millions of lives and come at great public expense. Learn More
Michigan’s imprisonment rate for black people is nearly seven times that of white people, creating enormous racial disparity in incarceration for black people compared to their population in the state overall.
Wayne County also has some of the harshest juvenile justice policies. At one point in time, Michigan was one of only four states that routinely charged and prosecuted 17 year olds as adults, creating some of the worst outcomes per capita for black youth.
Of the 3,000 plus jurisdictions in the United States, Wayne County (Detroit) ranks 17th for annual prison admissions (2,819 in 2014 alone) and charges 22,000 felonies per year.
The average prison time served in Michigan is the longest in the nation with more than one-third (38.7%) of the Michigan prison population serving a minimum sentence of 15 years or longer.
Michigan has the 9th largest state prison population (41,600 as of 2018), the 5th highest for mass supervision (189,000 on probation or parole) and among the harshest and most oppressive criminal legal system of any in the nation.
Prosecutor Candidate Forum
Date: Sunday, June 28th @ 3pm EST
Criminal Defense Attorney, Victoria Burton-Harris
Incumbent Madame Prosecutor, Kym Worthy
Amidst a national uprising in response to the murders of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, George Floyd, and Rayshard Brooks at the hands of police violence, the role of the prosecutor is more important than ever. They are the single most influential actors in our criminal legal system and have the power to press charges against officers for their brutality against Black people.
The Wayne County For the People Coalition has been organizing to end mass incarceration and criminalization and to hold the Wayne County Prosecutor accountable for their role in it. During community listening sessions, people have shared their stories, concerns and ideas about the values and practices that should guide the office of the Wayne County Prosecutor.
The Coalition formed in 2019 when Michigan Liberation formed a partnership with Detroit Action and We the People Michigan. A few national organizations also joined the effort including The Mass Liberation Project, Color of Change, The Advancement Project, Movement Voters Project, FORCE Detroit, Moses Action and the Working Families Party. The Coalition has worked closely with communities that have been directly impacted and harmed by the criminal legal system and prosecutorial misconduct.
We believe those who are closest to the problem are closest to the solution and it is these people that we want to bring closer to the power and resources to make the changes they feel will be beneficial for both the community and the incarcerated population.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
Throughout time, the Wayne County Prosecutor has operated with a tough on crime approach and has a history of wrongful convictions, charging juveniles as adults and lack of accountability on police misconduct. During community listening sessions, community members and stakeholders expressed a desire for a county prosecutor that is not tough on crime but smart on crime. These community members expressed the resources that are needed to reduce violence and crime and save black bodies from going into the incarceral system. The community also expressed the need for a progressive prosecutor that can match the needs of the 21st century.
The Wayne County Prosecutor is elected every four years and runs an enormous office of over 180 assistant prosecuting attorneys, 24 investigators and 70 clerical and support staff. This office is responsible for over 52% of all felony prosecutions contributing to mass incarceration in the state of Michigan. Altogether, Wayne County is one of the top most incarcerating and criminalizing jurisdictions in the nation perpetuating the anti-Black racism and harm of the criminal legal system.
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