A Legislative Guide to Supporting Prosecutorial Reform

Key Points

Prosecutors across the country have shown the incredible potential of prosecutorial reform. But they cannot reach these heights alone. Legislatures must get involved by rewriting the law and adjusting appropriations to ensure that prosecutors have the tools, authority and discretion necessary to transform prosecution.
A critical component of prosecutorial reform is improving the exercise of prosecutorial discretion. Internal policies go a long way to this end, but legislative action is still required to alter laws that place undue burdens on prosecutors, such as those criminalizing minor conduct, requiring prosecutors to rule on local police actions and interfering with a defendant’s juvenile status.
Prosecutors do not operate on an island. They are dependent on a host of outside actors and supports in order to achieve their goals. Key external partners like public defenders and programs like comprehensive data collection require legislative action to successfully support prosecutorial reform efforts.

Prosecutorial efforts can only realize their lofty potential for positive change with the active and enduring support of state legislatures.

Press release: How Legislators Can Support Prosecutorial Reform

Image credit:  Aerial Mike

Featured Publications