Over 350 community members organized and showed up to the District Attorney Candidates' Assembly
WOW! Deep gratitude to the 350+ community members who organized and showed up to make the District Attorney Candidates' Assembly POWERFUL. Many thanks to Rev. Tony Boss and the leadership of Piney Grove Missionary Baptist Church for hosting.
- You can find the Zoom recording of the livestream here.
- Read the INDY Week's coverage, "Orange County DA Candidates Pledge to Reform Criminal Justice System"
Thanks to the vision, courage, and commitment of community leaders, especially many justice-involved leaders, both candidates, Jeff Nieman and Kayley Taber, committed to every proposal (read the full proposal here), including:
- Data tracking for racial disparities
- Not prosecuting drug possession that's only for personal use (instead directing to treatment)
- Making diversion the rule for all whenever possible
- Creating a sentencing review process
- Streamlining the driver's license restoration program for drivers who lost their license because of not paying fees/fines
- Ending racially-biased and wealth-based pretrial detention (not requesting cash bail unless there is a risk to the individual or community)
- Continuing the deferral program for drivers without a license (originally a Justice United campaign with outgoing DA Jim Woodall)
- Regular accountability meetings
Three quotes that sum up what we did together:
"Yes, the District Attorney is one of the most powerful elected officials in the justice system, but remember -- WE ARE JUSTICE UNITED! And together we are more powerful than any one person or position." -- Rev. Dr. George Crews, III, Senior Pastor, Lattisville Grove Missionary Baptist Church
"My question to you is, what is going to change?" -- Shana Harper, Case Worker with Orange County's Family Treatment Court and Recovery Court
"I never thought in a million years that I would be at a DA Assembly. The last time I was in front of a DA, I was being convicted...I'm so happy to be able to speak for the guys who can't speak -- the guys who are incarcerated, who I told when I got out that I would speak for the best way I can. I left the Department of Corrections in 2019. When I fell in the Department of Corrections I was 23, and when I got out I was 52. So I told the guys when I left there that I would fight for them till the day I die...so it's my duty and obligation as someone who came out of the system to speak for them." -- Edward Scott, Peer Support Specialist with Straight Talk Support Group, Supervisor of Success While In Transition reentry support, and Co-Founder of Wounded Healers
Learn from and support local leaders who've been impacted by the justice system:
- Prison From The Inside Out: One Man's Journey From A Life Sentence to Freedom, by Will Elmore: https://www.prisonfromtheinsideout.org
- Success While In Transition (founded by Will Elmore and Tommy Green)
- Reentry House Plus, Inc. (programming coordinated by Will Elmore and Tommy Green)
- Wounded Healers (co-founded by Edward Scott; Will Elmore and Tommy Green serve on the board)
- Straight Talk Support Group (founded by Bessie Elmore; Edward Scott on staff; Will Elmore on advisory board)
- Community Based Landscapers (second chance employers), owned and operated by Edward Scott and Will Elmore: (919) 864-2175
Where do we go from here?
- With the DA: Our Criminal Justice team and collaborators will continue strengthening our team to ensure that, when the new DA takes office in January 2023, we will be ready to hold him or her accountable to the commitments made last night. (Interested in joining that team? Contact [email protected].)
- Accountability to ourselves: Justice United leaders collectively committed to educate over 1,380 members who pledge to vote in the May 17 primary elections. (Early voting is April 28-May 14).
Many thanks to the DA Candidates' Assembly Co-Sponsors: