New York City is retooling its longtime strategy of trying to reduce serious crime by cracking down on people who commit minor offenses, like public drinking and littering.
With crime at historic lows, city leaders have rolled out a series of proposals aimed at unclogging courts and jails and undoing damage done to poor, minority neighborhoods by generations of mass incarceration. It isn't certain yet how much things will change for borderline lawbreakers, but the idea that there are too many people in jail for piddling offenses is having a moment.
Last week, the mayor, police commissioner and the Manhattan district attorney said people who commit certain low-level infractions in the borough, like urinating in public, won't be arrested. Instead, they will get a summons to appear in court, saving them from at least a day in jail.
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