Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins this evening announced the release of a 65-page policy memo that defines her bold vision for her office and provides specific instructions to her staff on handling the low-level, non-violent offenses that she pledged to divert, dismiss, or otherwise resolve without incarceration.
“This document is a memo to my staff, but it also fulfills a commitment I made to the community we serve,” District Attorney Rollins said. “This is a roadmap to a criminal justice system that works equally for everyone, based on research, data, and input from across the spectrum of stakeholders.”
District Attorney Rollins distributed the memo to her staff earlier today in advance of this evening’s general announcement. While parts of it lay out office-wide goals to minimize the impact of the criminal justice system and reduce racial and socioeconomic disparities, it also contains specific guidelines for addressing some of the most common – but least serious – offenses that prosecutors handle in Suffolk County’s nine district and municipal courts.
“We start with a presumption that, in most cases, these charges don’t need to be prosecuted,” District Attorney Rollins said. “Dismissal, diversion, treatment, and services are much more often the appropriate outcomes.”
District Attorney Rollins thanked her staff, and in particular her executive staff and transition team, for their assistance in drafting, revising, and formatting the unprecedented policy guide – a process that utilized the expertise of prosecutors, defense attorneys, retired judges, and returning citizens in equal measure. “I’m grateful to all of them for their input,” she said, “but most of all I’m grateful to the people of Suffolk County for placing their trust in me and supporting my mission.”