FAIR JUSTICE

FOR ALL

Fair Justice for All 

Albany County can have a system of justice that’s fair. But right now, there are two systems of justice – one for the rich and powerful, and one for everyone else.

Matt Toporowski has seen all sides of the system, and for too many Albany County residents it is failing. Albany County has an incarceration rate 50% higher than the state average. When you’re measuring success by incarceration rates, you’ve got your priorities all wrong.

Matt will bring a fair, sound, compassionate approach to the District Attorney’s office – meeting the needs of victims, families, and our whole community.

SEEK SOLUTIONS, NOT CONVICTIONS

Harm Reduction, Treatment, Diversion, Alternatives to Incarceration

  • Individualize every case and operate from the orientation that every person is capable of change, and deserves a second chance.
  • Shift the purpose, scope and design of prosecution away from punishment and toward addressing the root drivers of harm and instability. By focusing on connecting defendants with community based programs, Matt will reduce crime and move Albany toward a better future for all.  
  • Expand specialized courts, improve drug courts, establish a mental health court, reestablish a veteran’s court, and end the practice of forcing plea convictions in order for individuals to be diverted to specialized courts.
CREATE A FAIR AND EQUITABLE JUSTICE SYSTEM

Decriminalize poverty, decarcerate, address disparity, hold powerful actors accountable

  • Consider the collateral consequences for all jail or prison sentences and negotiated pleas, including immigration, housing, parole or probation consequences. Adopt policies, practices, and standards to limit the impact of local and federal policies designed to target and tear apart immigrant communities.
  • End Debtor’s Prison: Thousands of people are jailed for fines they cannot afford to pay for low level, traffic, and quality of life charges. Incarceration destabilizes the lives of individuals, their families, and the whole community. DA Toporowski will not incarcerate people because they cannot afford to pay a fine or fee.
  • Decline to prosecute low level charges and charges that are disproportionately used to criminalize Black, Brown and low-income people, youth, immigrants, LGBTQ individuals and/or survivors of interpersonal violence. 
COMPASSIONATE PROSECUTION AND SECOND CHANCES

Office culture, prioritizing survivors, restorative justice, repairing the harm of mass incarceration and harmful prosecution

  • Create a culture of compassion: Set up programs for prosecutors to meet with survivors of crime, formerly incarcerated individuals and their families and people who have been exonerated. Require that prosecutors and staff visit prisons and jails where the people they prosecute are held.
  • Support survivors: Instead of treating survivors as witnesses needed to secure a conviction, DA Toporowski will work with survivors and their families to find the support they need to heal and recover, regardless of their participation in any ongoing investigation or prosecution. 
  • Restorative Justice: If survivors are interested and defendants are willing to admit their role in the conflict, a restorative justice model will be considered as a diversionary tactic. Research shows that restorative justice is cost-effective, leads to decreased recidivism, and satisfies the needs of both survivors and defendants.
  • Address Mass Incarceration: DA Toporowski will address mass incarceration by seeking shorter sentences, diverting low-level offenses from the justice system, and charging crimes at a lower level.

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