Criminal Justice Reform

District Attorney Vance has made the advancement of criminal justice reform a part of the mission of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, right alongside our centuries-old founding mission of public safety.

Since 2010, we have reduced unnecessary incarceration and ended the criminal prosecution of thousands of low-level, nonviolent offenses annually, slashing the number of people entering the criminal justice system in Manhattan nearly in half. Some of our signature reforms include:

Our reform mission requires that we continually evaluate our own structure and policies, and update practices which result in unfair or unnecessary consequences for New Yorkers accused of crimes, and for the strength of our communities. These efforts include:

  • Inviting the Vera Institute of Justice to conduct and publish a two-year study focused on racial disparities in dispositions and implicit bias in prosecutorial decision-making
  • Implementing mandatory, comprehensive implicit bias training — based on Vera’s findings – for every ADA and staff member
  • Creating New York City’s first Alternatives to Incarceration Unit to help prosecutors reach community-based dispositions and reduce unnecessary jail time
  • Creating (with the Office of Court Administration) and funding the nation’s first Alternatives to Incarceration Court, in which all felony cases under consideration for an Alternative-to-Incarceration resolution are brought to ensure that defendants receive treatment or services and comply with court mandates
  • Creating the Conviction Integrity Program, the first independent review in the five boroughs to investigate post-conviction claims of innocence, and prevent wrongful convictions from happening in the first place
  • Investing millions of dollars seized in our financial crime investigations into large-scale efforts to prevent crime and accelerate reform