Treat the Underlying
Causes of Crime
Poverty, trauma, substance abuse, and mental health issues are often the underlying causes of crime, yet the policies of the current Bronx District Attorney consistently make these conditions worse, not better. By choosing punishment over prevention, we harm not just the individual charged with a crime, but the communities where cycles of harm continue. There are ways to hold people accountable and deter others from causing harm without worsening trauma and poverty.
To do that, Tess will:
Make treatment the default over prison. Where consistent with public safety, persons charged with a crime will be evaluated to determine if there is treatment or programming available that would address the underlying causes of the crime.
Expand diversion opportunities. For misdemeanors and low-level felonies, Tess will provide opportunities for diversion where connection to a community service provider is beneficial. For more serious crimes, Tess will help establish and expand intervention courts for mental health and substance use, several of which do not exist in the Bronx, despite working successfully in other boroughs.
Proactively work hand-in-hand with public health officials to prevent overdose deaths in the Bronx. Substance use is a public health issue and prosecution only burdens a person with additional stress and trauma, making it harder for individuals to access services that can save their lives and end the cycle of use.