WASHINGTON (Jan. 30, 2020) – Conservatives have championed all manner of criminal justice reforms in recent years, yet one area is conspicuously lacking attention from the right: prosecutorial reform. While the political left has launched a “progressive prosecutor” movement, no comparable effort has emerged on the right. But this is a fluke. Conservative prosecutors can and should embrace new approaches in order to become more fair and effective than their predecessors.

In a new policy study, R Street Institute Senior Fellow of Criminal Justice and Civil Liberties Lars Trautman finds that the actions of prosecutors necessarily implicate conservative criminal justice priorities like public safety, fiscal responsibility, due process and the value of life and family. As such, conservatives should include prosecutors’ offices as a critical component in any criminal justice reform endeavor.

Trautman goes on to find that reimagining conservative prosecution is not a zero-sum game. Every stage of the criminal process presents opportunities for a conservative-minded lead prosecutor to make life better for their own prosecutors, the community and even many defendants. Furthermore, these mutually beneficial measures represent the kind of locally driven policy that conservatives ought to cheer.

The author concludes, “Just as conservatives helped usher in smarter and fairer policies elsewhere in the justice system, they can be part of the leading edge of revisions to prosecutorial practices and culture.”