Good morning. It’s Monday. Today, we’ll find out why prosecutors are flocking to New York’s prosecutors’ offices. We’ll also look at the techniques other cities are using to get the homeless to get off the subway.
The Great Resignation has now arrived with New York City prosecutors.
Hundreds of them have quit in the past year. That includes about a fifth of prosecutors in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx. This year alone, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office lost 36; the Manhattan office, 44; the Bronx, at least 28; Staten Island, nine — one-tenth of the office’s prosecutors; and in Queens, prosecutors leave twice as fast as usual.
Lawyers told my colleague Jonah Bromwich that the departure is a combination of pandemic burnout, low salaries and a huge workload. The mounting pressure comes partly from two new laws designed to make the judicial process fairer: They give defense teams the right to see more prosecution documents faster, but that also means prosecutors have to work more and faster, amid a justice system that already having trouble functioning.
Here, too, the story is in the numbers.
$72,000. That’s the salary for a junior prosecutor in Brooklyn, the borough where real estate prices are so notoriously high that keeping them low was enough to kill Shaun Donovan’s mayoral campaign. Pay in other boroughs is comparable, in a city teeming with law firms offering six-figure entry-level salaries.
21. That’s how many types of data prosecutors must collect and share under new discovery laws in New York State. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg told the city council that his office now uses 10 times the amount of data storage it did in 2020: 320 terabytes of data, versus 32.
100. That’s the number of cases that many prosecutors handle at once.
All of this, of course, comes under the pressures that all workers face: new family responsibilities as a result of the pandemic, the trauma of losing friends, relatives and neighbors to the disease, the chaos and delays thrown into the justice system over a long period of time. from remote trials and the daunting challenges of trying to solve the system’s problems with limited resources. It also adds to the appeal of private sector jobs where they could still work from home.
“They just can’t do it anymore,” Darcel Clark, the Bronx district attorney, told DailyExpertNews. “The money is not where it should be, and the work-life balance is just unmanageable.”
But the new laws have come into effect to address real, pressing issues. One is called Caliph’s Law, named after Caliph Browder, a teenager who committed suicide after being held on Rikers Island for three years without trial.
The new workload underscores the need for competitive salaries for prosecutors — and public defenders — said Tina Luongo, the attorney responsible for the criminal defense practice at the Legal Aid Society.
But, she said, “It can’t be and it shouldn’t be that the way you solve a workload problem is to reduce the rights of someone accused of a crime.”
Enjoy a mostly sunny day in mid-50s New York. At night it will be mostly cloudy with temperatures around forty.
parking on the other side
Valid until April 14 (Maundy Thursday).
Toddlers, keep your masks on
Parents can be forgiven for losing sight of whether small children need their masks on Monday. The answer is yes: The New York City mask mandate is still in effect for children under the age of 5 in nurseries and preschools.
A lot has gone back and forth in the past few days. Mayor Eric Adams had pledged Monday to lift the city’s mask mandate for that age group. But last Friday, he said the rule would remain in place as the number of coronavirus cases rises again. Daily cases are now around 1,250, up from 500 in early March.
Earlier Friday, a Staten Island judge issued an injunction to remove the mask mandate. But by Friday night, the city had won an appeal decision that put the rule in effect. Adams’ advice to city dwellers: “We want you to be prepared, not panic.”
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How other cities tackle homelessness
Across the country, transit systems, with their massive gated public spaces, have long acted as de facto shelters for homeless people who don’t want to go to barracks-like shelters. New York City is no exception, and as Adams tries to lure more riders back to the subway, a look from Michael Gold and Erin Woo in other cities suggests they could offer a model to rival New York.
Critics of the mayor’s plan — to have 1,000 police officers step up subway patrols and add a few dozen social workers to the 200 working on outreach there — say it’s too close to the standard long-cities approach, which involves policing the police. used to push the unprotected out of subways and tunnels.
Other cities are experimenting with proactive outreach and responding with social services for people living in the metro.
In Philadelphia, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority has handed over 11,000 square feet of space in a central subway station to a nonprofit that helps unprotected people and provides on-site services within the transit system. It offers temporary shelter, medical services, toilets, a launderette and assistance in finding housing.
In Atlanta and San Francisco, as well as in Philadelphia, teams of social workers have been sent to respond to situations involving the homeless or the mentally ill on public transportation; in San Francisco, police officers are instructed to wait for social workers instead of removing the people immediately.
But in all of these cities, the biggest challenge is coordinating frontline efforts in the transit system with the more difficult goal of increasing safe, available shelter and affordable housing.
“You need to be able to move people to housing and better shelters,” said Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness in San Francisco. “If that stuff doesn’t exist, you’re actually kind of controlling the problem. And that’s what I think most transport systems are left with.”
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A little too late
I boarded the M104 and took a seat behind a grey-haired woman, dressed all in black. The white label on her sweater stuck straight up from her neckline.