prosecutors in the united states
With the power to determine the trajectory of criminal cases, prosecutors hold one of the most important positions in our criminal justice system. They can flood our prisons, destroy lives, and exacerbate racial disparities. But, prosecutors can also do the opposite. It is our responsibility, as voters, to shift the tide and demand more accountability.
DIVERSITY IN THE PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE
A study released in 2015 by the San Francisco-based advocacy group Women Donors Network looked at nearly 2,500 elected prosecutors from state attorneys down to city and county prosecutors. Their findings were unsurprising, 95% of prosecutors in the United States are white and 79% are white men. The low representation for women and people of color is consequential on the integrity of our justice system. Prosecutors are increasingly executing their discretion punitively among already marginalized groups. This outcome, originating from a lack of diversity, prevents us from from reaching goals of expanded equality. Having a range of perspectives in an office as powerful as a prosecutor's will encourage more equitable treatment, cultivate trust, and make our criminal justice system more efficient.
perpetuating a cycle
Studies show that 85% of prosecutors run for election unopposed and incumbents win 95% of the time. These elections don't allow voters to exercise much of a choice but one exists, voters have the power to champion change. We can restore the legitimacy of our criminal justice system by changing who holds these positions and holding prosecutors accountable.
the power prosecutors hold
Prosecutors are leaders in the criminal justice system. Equipped with immense discretionary power and autonomy prosecutors have a unique ability to drive change. A prosecutor can enhance standards of justice, increase transparency, and make our neighborhoods safer, but only if the right people are in office. If we are serious about reforming our justice system we must reexamine who holds the position of prosecutor.