(NewsNation) — Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón doubled down on his mission to reform L.A.’s criminal justice system after his critics were unable to successfully get a bid to recall him on the ballot.
Gascón, like a handful of other progressive district attorneys, has come under fire for what critics claim are lax approaches to prosecuting crimes that they say have helped spark increases in violent crime rates in major U.S. cities.
But, Gascón appears to be undisturbed by the voices of critics who sought to remove him from his position, as he reaffirmed his commitment to executing the criminal justice practices that angered his critics in the first place, which include reducing the number of people incarcerated in L.A. County and the United States.
Gascón accused his critics of putting forward a “false narrative” that you either have to have “humanity” and “reforms” or “safety.” He said it is not an “either or” choice.
“If locking people up was about making us safer, LA county would be the safest county in the world,” Gascón said at a rally of his supporters. “And our country would be the safest country in the world. But guess what? We are not.”
L.A. County has the largest jail system in the United States and the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department allocates $843 million, 24% of its budget, to the jail system. On average 14,577 people are locked up in L.A. County jails on any given day, according to the LA Almanac.
“We are paying the price of the over incarceration and corruption of our system for decades,” Gascón said.
Those opposed to Gascón say their effort to remove him from office is not over yet, despite their failure to do so this year. They say families of those who have been murdered in L.A. County this year, some of which they attribute to Gacón’s policies, are feeling “revictimized” by the failure to oust him.
“There’s been several now murders that could have been completely prevented had he had common sense policies in place as opposed to the quote-unquote reforms that he put in place,” said Kathy Cady, a former L.A. County deputy DA and co-chair of “Recall Gascón.”
Organizers who seek to recall Gascón have until Sept. 5 to to review the signatures rejected by the registrar. They hope the review will wipe out the 50,000 signature shortfall they faced to get the recall on the ballot.
“We should not slam the door; it still is open,” said recall organizer Richie Greenberg. “We’ve got the protocols that are in force to review the signatures and should there be at least 46,000 of those 200,000 that were rejected wind up actually being valid, then the recall against Gascon will go forward.”