Sept. 26, 2018 By Tara Law
Rory Lancman, a city councilmember and a vocal advocate for criminal justice reform, has officially declared his candidacy for Queens District Attorney.
Lancman, who represents a district in central Queens that includes Kew Gardens Hills, would replace–if elected– seven-term incumbent Richard A. Brown, 85, who has not yet declared whether he intends to run for reelection.
Lancman, who is chair of the City Council’s Justice System commit, is a strong advocate for criminal justice reform. He supports reforming cash bail and decriminalizing low-level offenses like turnstile jumping and smoking marijuana in public.
Furthermore, he is an advocate for closing Rikers Island and opening four community-based jails– including the former Kew Gardens House of Detention.
He argues that the city should work to cut the jail population by cutting processing times and reducing the number of people who are in jail because they cannot afford to meet bail.
“We can safely reduce the citywide jail population,” Lancman said. It is a long overdue conversation. Simply put— we are locking up so many of our fellow New Yorkers, particularly those stuck in jail because they can’t pay bail while they await their day in court.”
Lancman argues that the system is unfair for those that lack resources.
“It is an abuse of the criminal justice system where you are using cash bail for people in poverty— to incarcerate them before they are convicted of anything.”
The next election is scheduled for November 2019, with the Democratic primary taking two months prior.