There is an interesting collection of links about the “progressive prosecutor” phenomenon on the Marshall Project’s website. Progressive prosecutors are an interesting example of reform within the system, and one that I wouldn’t have predicted, although relying on prosectors for any kind of reform is risky business, because prosecutors have so much arbitrary power, and because their reforms can be easily reversed when a new prosecutor replaces them.
Clearly, the correct way to reduce police brutality, mass incarceration, and overcriminalization is to simply have fewer laws, fewer arrests, fewer prosecutions, and fewer incarcerations, which is what these types of prosecutors seem to be doing. However, there is a danger of a public backlash and renewed calls for “law and order” if violent crime begins to dramatically increase. Another issue is the ever-present conflict between the middle class and the homeless.
As social and economic conditions become increasingly similar to those of the Third World, the proliferation of Third World living circumstances like large numbers of street people or favelas and slums will be more common. This will lead to more calls from the middle class for repression of the poor. While there has been a renewed wave of labor activity lately, I suspect that in the future “class struggle” will be just as oriented toward homelessness and resistance to police repression as it is toward labor activity, if not more so.
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