Prosecutor Research

Background

Determining the appropriate workload will ensure that we convict the necessary, divert the most warranted, protect the innocent, and respect the need for public safety.

The recent focus on unconstitutional bail practices and the calls for reducing the incarcerated populations, while maintaining public safety, has put prosecutors in the middle of the justice-reform movement. Unfortunately, federal agencies and legislative bodies have yet to provide a framework from which prosecutors could determine the ideal caseload. The impact of large workloads and inadequate funding create an obvious problem for prosecutors. More importantly, research demonstrates that this challenge increases the likelihood of extended case processing time, decision-making error, plea bargains, stress-related burnout, and turnover. case processing time, decision-making error, plea bargains, stress-related burnout, and turnover. Prosecutor workload management is a serious concern. Given the urgency and the need for policy-oriented solutions, it is pertinent that we understand prosecutor budgetary constraints and their impact on staff, case processing, and case outcomes.

Overview

The Center for Justice Research prosecutor research aims to provide a framework for change on the improvement of prosecutorial decision making and the potential for progressive prosecution. So far, our research has provided an overview of prosecutor caseloads in the largest U.S. counties along with their funding allocations and staff differentials. Through our research, we provide evidence-based recommendations that will improve the ability of prosecutors to reduce racial disparities, address mass incarceration and maintain public safety.

Meet the Team

Howard Henderson, Ph.D.

Jennifer W Bourgeois, Ph.D.

Tri Keah Henry, Ph.D.

Kimberly Harris, Ph.D.

Melissa Kwende, MHCA

Report
Additional Resources

The Prosecutor Research Network : Research at the Intersection of Behavioral Health and Prosecution

The Prosecution Research Network is currently identifying opportunities for improving and streamlining the process of how individuals with mental health and substance use disorders intersect with prosecution.

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Mapping Prosecutor-Led Diversion

The four filter options can be used seperately or in tandem with the search box to further refine your results.

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Vera Institute of Justice: Reshaping Prosecution

Reshaping Prosecution: A Safer and More Equitable Approach

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Project
Cost-Benefit Analysis of Prosecutor Diversions
  • Project Description

To determine the costs of diversion, this project will examine the ability of prosecutor diversion programming to reduce recidivism while addressing racial/ethnic disparities.  Additionally, the study will examine the costs and benefits of diversion programs with specific attention paid to outcomes beyond recidivism.

  • Research Questions
  • How effective diversion programs are at addressing recidivism and reducing racial and ethnic disparities?
  • What are the financial and social costs and benefits of diversion?