The Manhattan DA's office is changing the way it treats some nonviolent offenders, including subway turnstile jumpers and low-level drug offenders. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.

For years, the NYPD aggressively practiced its broken windows policy of going after quality-of-life crimes like jumping the turnstile and drinking alcohol in public. But now, the Manhattan DA's office says it will no longer be prosecuting people for simply evading the fare. 

"About 25 percent of the time, they are being arrested, and in Manhattan, that is 10,000 cases a year," said Manhattan Chief Assistant DA Karen Friedman Agnifilo.

75 percent of those who jump the turnstiles or sneak on the back of buses are given a summons. But DA Cy Vance says that other 25 percent who are arrested clog up the court system and put people at risk of getting a criminal record. His office feels that no longer makes sense to do. 

"There could be deportation consequences for certain people. There could be housing consequences. There could be other collateral consequences that come with a criminal prosecution," Agnifilo said.

The NYPD says it has greatly reduced arresting people for low-level offenses, and it has been working with the DA's office on this issue. But Police Commissioner James O'Neill still believes there has to be enforcement.

"And you have to control the entry area," O'Neill said. "So fare evasion enforcement is an important part of keeping everybody in this city safe."

Mayor Bill de Blasio strongly supports the notion that people cannot be allowed to repeatedly not pay their fare.  

"There is no way in hell that anyone should be evading the fare. That would create chaos," de Blasio said. "You can't jump the turnstile. It is not legal. It's not right."

The DA's logic is that someone who doesn't pay $3 to get on the subway or the bus should not be treated like those who commit more serious offenses.

"Right now, jumping the turnstile and fare evasion is the same level of crime as endangering the welfare of a child, as misdemeanor sex crimes," Agnifilo said.

The office says the punishment should be suitable for the crime and believes most people should be given a summons or some other type of penalty, perhaps like community service. But the DA says if you have a warrant or commit some other crime while jumping the turnstile, you will be charged.