Amid a marked rise in homicides in the city she represents in Congress, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez this week made the provocative claim that public authorities should stop building jails and invest more funding in "mental health care" and other non-punitive policy proposals.
The congresswoman offered the policy proposal at a press conference in the Bronx on Thursday. "If we want to reduce violent crime, if we want to reduce the number of people in our jails, the answer is to stop building more of them," she argued.
"The answer is to make sure that we actually build more hospitals, we pay organizers, we get people mental health care and overall health care, employment, etc.," she continued.
Citywide police data show that New York is experiencing a notable murder spike this year, seeing a year-over-year increase of nearly 20% so far.
The two-year increase was significantly higher, coming in at nearly 48% so far this year.