How Larry Krasner is Remaking Philly D.A.’s office

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner is one of about two dozen “progressive prosecutors” recently elected around the U.S. He may face an “insurmountable challenge” in trying to reduce mass incarceration, says The New Yorker.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner is one of about two dozen “progressive prosecutors,” many of them backed by George Soros, who have won recent district-attorney races. Krasner now oversees 537 employees, including 300 prosecutors, and an annual budget of $42 million. Krasner often talks about his ambition to make Philadelphia the best progressive D.A.’s office in the U.S., and he knows that he faces an almost insurmountable challenge, reports The New Yorker. Resistance comes not only from the lawyers he now supervises but also from some judges, many of whom are former prosecutors. “They are being forced to look back on their entire careers and say to themselves, ‘Did I get it all wrong as a prosecutor? Have I gotten it all wrong as a judge? All these years coming down with 25 years when it should’ve been ten? And ten when it could’ve been two?’”

Last month, Krasner greeted 38 young Assistant District Attorneys, known among the staff as “baby A.D.A.s,” at the start of an eight-week training period. This year’s A.D.A.s could have been forgiven for thinking that they had mistakenly wandered into training for public defenders. “Who here has read Michelle Alexander?” Krasner asked, citing the author of “The New Jim Crow,” an analysis of mass incarceration.  “Look at the stats. There are more people of color in jail, in prison, on probation and parole than there were in slavery at the beginning of the Civil War.” He reminded the trainees that “you represent people who are not victims of crime, people who are not defendants. You represent kids who are going to public schools … You represent—because you are stewards of an enormous amount of social resources—what their lives can be in ten or 15 years if resources are in those schools.”