Cumberland DA candidate Jackie Sartoris: It’s time for us to steer in legal justice reform

As an assistant district lawyer, I see what number of of Maine’s legal circumstances are about substance use and psychological well being. As a remedy court docket prosecutor, I do know that a lot of our caseload actually boils all the way down to assets, however that when these assets are made accessible, individuals are able to restoration and full participation with their communities and households, and we’re all higher off. As a former city councilor, I perceive how what seem to be native problems with housing, poverty and the fraying social security internet interaction, perpetuating cycles of legal conduct. As a lifelong Democrat, I do know that as a result of a lot of the work that prosecutors do happens behind closed doorways, our lived values are what rely in altering coverage.

I’m operating to be Cumberland County’s subsequent district lawyer as a result of I do know that our county can play a higher management position in attaining significant legal justice reform. I’m conscious that Maine’s incarceration charge could also be low nationally, however it’s nonetheless greater than thrice the speed of Canada and 4 occasions the speed of most different democracies. We are able to do a lot better.

If elected, I’ll strongly advocate for and work to safe the technique of delivering substance use remedy as an alternative of incarceration in applicable circumstances. Proper now, these combating dependancy are sometimes charged with a felony for easy drug possession and are uncovered to jail phrases. This doesn’t assist handle the true situation. Having watched quite a few household buddies endure substance use dysfunction, I do know that remedy alternatives are the useful resource wanted, not months in jail.

Racial disparity can be a transparent downside in Maine’s legal authorized system. We’ve got delay confronting the rising proof that there’s something amiss in the best way we’re implementing enforcement of the legislation. When Black and brown individuals are three or extra occasions the inhabitants in jail than they’re of the underlying inhabitants, it’s time to do greater than soul looking out. I’ll be certain that information regarding this situation are absolutely accessible and that frank conversations and proposals happen with the affected group to deal with this downside.

Whereas I acknowledge very current efforts to make use of restorative justice in additional circumstances, it’s not so simple as including a restorative justice requirement willy-nilly, a grievance I hear from protection attorneys. Restorative justice is finest used when a significant decision of a case is achieved that permits victims and defendants to interact in a significant alternate adopted by reparative conduct by the defendant. It’s not applicable to make use of it for conduct the place an underlying substance use situation signifies {that a} remedy requirement is a wiser possibility or to resolve minor circumstances that, given the unimaginable backlog, needs to be dismissed with a number of hours of group service.

June 14 is a Democratic major to pick out our Democratic nominee. Whereas I applaud the current selection of our present district lawyer to register as a Democrat, I’ve lived my Democratic values over my lifetime, and so they deeply outline who I’m and the alternatives I make. I’ve served as vice chair of our native Democratic city committee, and knocked on hundreds of doorways to get out the vote in a time when our democracy feels more and more imperiled. My prior profession in environmental coverage and local weather change work centered my Democratic values, and my work as a prosecutor with a problem-solving remedy method is rooted in those self same values with compassion and accountability. My lived values inform the endorsements of my marketing campaign by each Cumberland County Democrat on the Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Legal Justice and Public Security, and people of many different Democratic legislators and elected officers.

I stay up for the numerous upcoming public boards to speak concerning the vital points in legal justice reform, and I hope Cumberland County Democratic voters will take part and have interaction.


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