The newly sworn-in District Attorney of Suffolk County, Massachusetts, Rachael Rollins, continues to live up to her progressive politics—which some say make her the “most reform-minded district attorney” in the United States. She promises to confront her colleagues in the prosecutors office about the way that their job is bound up with the disproportionate punishment of Black and Brown defendants.
In a speech at the 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East headquarters, Rollins posed the provocative question she plans to ask district attorneys’ office employees when she reconsiders them for rehire: “Why did you apply for a job where you would be putting people of color in jail every single day?”
While speaking with staffers, Rollins reiterated her commitment to filling positions in her office with people of color, women and people of a variety of ages. Rollins herself is the first woman and second African American to serve as the county’s head prosecutor.
In addition to aiming to transform who is at the helm of Suffolk County prosecutions, Rollins also plans to diverge from the kinds of prosecutions sought by previous DAs.
The platform that she ran on includes declining the prosecution of marijuana cases and leaning less on the state’s drug court program, given its use of punitive sanctions against people who relapse.
Photograph: Courtesy of Rachael Rollins