Hennepin County District Attorney
Mark Haase is running for District Attorney of Hennepin on a bold progressive platform centered in transforming our criminal justice system, ready to tackle structural racism and inequity in our legal system.
He was raised in a working-class community in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota and was the first in his family to go to college. He began his public service first with the Coast Guard and later worked as a teacher and a youth advocate. As he says, “The injustices in our criminal justice system were affecting my community, and I couldn’t stand by and allow those injustices to continue in my name: I went to law school to fight it.”
His work in criminal justice reform has been built on organizing diverse coalitions around common-sense reforms. Those reforms include a successful campaign around expungement reform, mandatory drug sentencing reform, and ‘ban the box’ which prohibits employers in Minnesota from asking about criminal convictions during an initial application for employment. “As a parent to biracial kids, as a veteran, as an attorney, and an advocate, I am proud to be in this fight.”
Hennepin County has some of the worst racial disparities of any court system in the nation. The five term incumbent has failed to bring the innovation our community needs. Under his leadership, Hennepin County has moved away from an evidence-based, successful diversion program, and implemented instead a for-profit diversion program that provides fewer resources to its clients. Too many people are held in pre-trial detention on bail they cannot afford; it’s time to end the criminalization of poverty and reform cash bail. Too many people have their futures hampered by harmful convictions, which bring avoidable collateral consequences. It’s time to end mass incarceration by ending low level drug prosecutions, by providing second chances, and expanding expungements.
Mark Haase is running to bring change to an office that currently embodies a conventional, harmful approach to criminal prosecution. Hennepin County needs innovative, progressive leadership with a commitment to racial justice.