Eli Savit officially takes over as Washtenaw County's new prosecutor in January 2021 but has already been meeting with community groups and planning major reforms to how the office operates and to the local criminal justice system. WEMU's Lisa Barry talks with Savit as his new position begins.
Known as the “reformist” candidate when he ran for the position of Washtenaw County prosecutor, Eli Savit says he is excited to be rolling out a number of changes in the Washtenaw County prosecutor’s office over the next few weeks. He said they’ve already eliminated a lot of zero tolerance policies that were in place under the former prosecutor. He says they’re going to stop seeking cash bail and hope to move forward in a more fair and equitable direction searching for the exact causes of racial disparities in the county’s criminal justice system. Savit says they are going to be public and transparent about how they operate and says he plans to interact with community members to get input and feedback moving forward.
Savit expressed excitement about his new chief assistant prosecutor, Victoria Burton-Harris, and says they've already had numerous fruitful conversations with a shared vision on how the department can better run.
Savit also talks about his mother's neighborhood effort to bring connection and a bit of distraction with her displays of "Little Bear" in a number of different settings that she created and displays during the pandemic outside his childhood home in Ann Arbor.
The new Washtenaw County prosecutor says ultimately he plans to prioritize rehabilitation vs. incarceration when it comes to dealing with suspects in the system.
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