The following op-ed was published in opposition to Mayor de Blasio’s jail plan on September 4, 2019 – Closing Rikers: We Must Do Better Than the Current Plan
As a city, we can settle for Mayor de Blasio’s eight-year, $10 billion plan, or we can push him to generate a better plan that invests billions into helping communities directly, doesn’t have towering jails, and reforms the Department of Correction. It’s not too late, we still have a choice.
Announcement on Intern Pay – September 1, 2019
On Labor Day, the campaign announced that interns would be paid $15 an hour, the first campaign of the 2021 cycle to make this commitment.
Statement on Mass Shootings – August 6, 2019
The horrific shootings in Ohio and Texas have left us with a heavy heart and searching for answers. At the core of these mass shootings is a deep sickness in our country, and a variety of responses are needed. The reality, however, is that laws and law enforcement alone cannot end this violence. I spent this past weekend with a men’s healing group. We reflected on the impact that kind of work could have had on us as young men, steering us from our reckless choices, including choices that landed some of us in jail and prison, the kind of choices men make that harm those around them. As Manhattan District Attorney I will fight for the resources needed to heal and invest in communities, which is the best way to bring lasting public safety to New York.
There is no question that guns need to be taken off of our streets, no easy task given lax gun laws in other states. Yes, stricter laws can punish gun trafficking, but we must go deeper and address the pain and desperation that is leading to gun possession and use in our city. Likewise, we must use every tool at our disposal to remain safe from the growing threats of white nationalism and domestic terrorism, whether they come from a lonely voice on the internet or from the White House. As Manhattan DA, it will be my sworn duty to keep our community safe. What gives me the most hope, however, is that New Yorkers know that our inclusive values and sense of fairness and justice is what makes us strong, and we will not compromise those values out of fear.
I wish everyone peace in these difficult times, and am encouraged by the number of people working hard for a more caring world.
On July 22nd, 2019, we launched our campaign. Read our full statement here.
Truthout, August 12, 2019: “They Survived Solitary Confinement. Now They’re Fighting to End It.”
Janos Marton, a former advocate with the #CloseRikers campaign and now campaign manager for the ACLU’s Smart Justice Campaign, is running for Manhattan district attorney. Among his campaign pledges is a promise to drastically limit solitary for all people awaiting trial in Manhattan. (As of 2019, one-third of the people in New York City’s jails are from Manhattan.)
“As Manhattan DA, I would have a policy that anytime a defendant is being held in non-compliance with the Mandela rules, or whatever version of HALT is passed, I would drop bail [requirements] against that defendant, so hopefully they could be removed from the jail system,” Marton told Truthout. If dropping bail requirements is not possible, Marton says he would dismiss the criminal charges. “That might seem controversial to some people, but I feel that it’s a moral imperative to not torture people in solitary,” he said.
Marton recalls touring Rikers Island and seeing the segregation units for himself. “I wouldn’t last two days in those cells.”
Queens Daily Eagle, August 5, 2019: “Early Caban Support Wants to Transform the Manhattan DA’s Office”
This is a long-form interview with me, and we go deep into why I’m running and how we’re going to win. Give it a read!
“We have time, we have a plan, and we’ve got a lot of people already with us. We’re going to start off the campaign within a few weeks in communities that have been the most over-policed in Manhattan, so East Harlem, Washington Heights, Lower East Side. We’re going to reach every community. We have a plan to reach every NYCHA building in Manhattan. Along the way we’re going to speak to people who do direct service work; we’re going to speak to community leaders, faith leaders. We have a really robust plan for outreach and we’re privileged to have almost two years to do that.”
City & State, July 31, 2019: “Manhattan Could Elect the Next Leftist District Attorney”
“Marton added that he will also be looking to restructure many parts of the office from a criminal justice perspective. ‘From the point of policing, to the way the court process currently operates to sentencing policy to the challenges that formerly incarcerated people face when they come home,’ Marton said.”
Patch.com, July 23, 2019: “Civil Rights Lawyer Janos Marton Joins Manhattan DA Race”
“Some of Marton’s campaign proposals include: Reducing Manhattan’s pretrial prison population by 80%, eliminating the use of solitary confinement and revisiting long prison sentences that were handed down to convicts in the past.”
StreetsblogNYC, July 23, 2019: “Cy Vance’s Tale of Two Cities: Bus Fare Evaders Go To Court, Subway Scofflaws Go Free”
“Activist Janos Marton, who on Tuesday said he would run against Vance in 2021, told Streetsblog that it was ‘curious’ Vance’s office still prosecutes bus fare evasion in light of the subway fare evasion policy. ‘While people should pay their fares, arresting people instead of ticketing them is excessive, wastes police resources, and risks discriminatory enforcement,’ Marton said.”
The City, June 23, 2019: “No Decision from Cy Vance on Fourth DA Term as Challengers Mount”
“Vance’s second challenger, Janos Marton, announced his candidacy Monday. The decarceration proponent — now with the ACLU, and formerly of JustLeadership USA, which pushed to close Rikers Island — echoed the sentiment.
‘He’s going to have articulate why he’s been so successful at prosecuting low-income communities of color and yet so unsuccessful at prosecuting powerful interests,’ Marton said.”
New York Post, July 22, 2019: “Challengers are lining up to take on Manhattan DA Cy Vance”
“’I’m running because Manhattan needs a new vision for justice. Over the last 10 years, Cy Vance has been overly punitive to communities of color, and overly attentive to people in power,’ Marton, 37, told The Post in a phone interview, declaring his candidacy two years ahead of the face-off.
‘I would rigorously examine which cases the office requests bail for and look at trying to keep as many people out of the prison system, and focus on other methods for accountability. I will spend more energy on the types of issues Vance’s office has paid scant attention to. For example, wage theft and anything else beyond street crime.'”
The Appeal, July 22, 2019: “Decarceration Activist Janos Marton Launches Run for Manhattan D.A.”
“‘We need to hold people accountable for the harm that they cause, but we need to think beyond putting people in cages as an answer to society’s problems,’ Marton said. He considers his vision in line with a growing national push for progressive, decarcerative approaches to criminal justice.”