In July 2014, the Vera Institute of Justice published a report entitled, “Race and Prosecution in Manhattan,” which identified significant racial disparities in cases prosecuted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. The report concluded that African-American and Latino defendants were more likely to: (1) be detained at arraignment; (2) receive a custodial sentence offer as a result of the plea bargaining process; and (3) be incarcerated. For example, at the bail stage for misdemeanor offenses, African-American defendants were 20 percent more likely than similarly situated whites to be detained. At the plea bargaining stage, for misdemeanor drug offenses, African-American defendants were 27 percent and Latino defendants 18 percent more likely to receive a custodial sentence offer than similarly situated white defendants.
Under Alvin’s leadership, the District Attorney’s Office will focus on eliminating these racial disparities. He will assign experienced prosecutors and data analysts to track these disparities and develop training and management protocols that ensure that similarly situated defendants receive equal treatment.