To the editor: I write in support of Andrea Harrington’s bid for reelection as Berkshire County District Attorney.
Andrea has implemented significant changes to serve women experiencing domestic violence and prevent future homicides, and she has effected system-wide changes that will reduce our unacceptably high poverty and racially disproportionate incarceration rate.
DA Harrington has ended the practice of requiring cash bail, which, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, “… perpetuates widespread poverty-based incarceration, as … unaffordable bail is the single greatest driver of convictions.”
The old approach has led to sentences that are too severe for the offenses, produced more wrongful convictions and sent people with addictions, disabilities and mental health conditions into jails and prisons where they get minimal treatment. The consequences of this approach burden people of color and the poor disproportionately and result in splintered families and damaged children. It also results in a costly burden for taxpayers.
District Attorney Harrington has increased use of drug court and programs for low-level youth offenders — connecting them to needed services so they can become productive members of our community. She will be “tough on crime” when it’s necessary.
Andrea Harrington is one of a growing number of forward-thinking prosecutors who are implementing long-overdue changes: reform pretrial justice, stop prosecuting low-level charges, reduce sentencing and create more effective and less costly alternatives to jails and prisons. She is committed to applying equitable prosecution policies to minimize the impact of over-policing and over-prosecution on communities of color.
Linda Baxter, Great Barrington