• Strategic Prosecution

    The National Network’s evolving model for strategic prosecution aims to reimagine the role of the prosecutor’s office in contributing to violence reduction goals.

About the Innovation
Tools & Guides

The National Network envisions a prosecutor’s office that breaks the traditional mold and establishes itself as not only an important partner to other criminal justice agencies but an independent and effective strategic actor in reducing crime, enhancing the legitimacy of the criminal justice system, strengthening the capacity of communities to prevent and reduce crime, and reducing the unintended consequences of existing criminal justice practices. Such a prosecutor’s office would include the following core elements:

  • An explicit commitment to independently producing crime reduction;
  • An explicit commitment to reducing community harms from the criminal justice process;
  • A set of core strategies designed to address a set of particularly important crime and public safety issues; 
  • The internal strategic and managerial capacity to design and implement those strategies;
  • The data and analytic base necessary to design, implement, and assess those strategies.
  • Within those strategies, elements designed to minimize arrest and prosecution by mobilizing direct communication with high-risk groups and individuals; mobilizing community informal social control; enhancing the legitimacy of the prosecutor’s office and the criminal justice system; employing deterrence before actual enforcement; and where enforcement is required, applying the minimal level requisite;
  • Working partnerships with those necessary to implement these approaches: police and other criminal justice agencies; communities and key actors within communities; social service providers; outreach workers; and academics. 

Framework for a Data-driven Crime Prevention Prosecutor’s Office

The National Network has typically designed the law enforcement component of its violence intervention strategies through partnership with police departments. However, it is entirely possible to imagine a prosecutor’s office organized to conduct its work consistent with violence reduction goals. This paper outlines a basic direction and design for a fundamental reconception of the function and office of the prosecutor.

News & Updates

Finding Common Cause: Victims and the Movement to Reduce Incarceration

September 2016  |  The Crime Report  

"Efforts to roll back mass incarceration are laudable, but they will not achieve lasting change if they do not figure out how to incorporate the perspectives of the justice system’s most vulnerable constituents: Victims of crime."

Tags: Strategic Prosecution Strategic Prosecution

This Is What It Will Take to End Mass Incarceration

September 2016  |  Slate  

Slate reviews a New York Times story that detailed a significant discrepancies in the way certain judges and prosecutors hand out punishments. NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images

Tags: Strategic Prosecution Strategic Prosecution

 Want to Make America Safe? Here Are 5 Ways to Do That.

July 2016  |  The Nation  

" Some advice from communities that really are facing violent crime."

Tags: ReconciliationStrategic ProsecutionSupport and Outreach ReconciliationStrategic ProsecutionSupport and Outreach

Victims and Offenders Come Together to Make Their Own Justice

July 2016  |  Pew Charitable Trusts  

"Boulder is one of many places around the country turning to restorative justice as an alternative to prosecution and possible imprisonment. Instead of fighting the charges in court, offenders selected for restorative justice agree to accept responsibility for their actions, meet face-to-face with victims and come up with a plan to repair the harm they’ve caused."

Tags: Strategic Prosecution Strategic Prosecution

Five Voices on Reforming the Front End of Justice

July 2016  |  The Marshall Project  

"The Prisoner Reentry Institute of John Jay College, with support from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, recently released two reports on national roundtables convened to explore pretrial practice, the “front door” to the criminal justice system."

Tags: ReconciliationStrategic Prosecution ReconciliationStrategic Prosecution

‘Restorative justice’ program helps young offenders

July 2016  |  TMJ 4  

"A relatively new restorative justice program is giving young offenders in Milwaukee the chance to avoid the court system and the criminal record that comes with it."

Tags: Milwaukee Strategic Prosecution Strategic Prosecution

One year out

July 2016  |  Washington Post  

"On July 13, 2015, President Obama commuted the prison sentences of 46 nonviolent drug offenders. Here’s what their lives are like now."

Tags: Strategic ProsecutionSupport and Outreach Strategic ProsecutionSupport and Outreach

Criminal justice reform will fail if we don’t fix mental health care too

July 2016  |  San Francisco Chroncile   

A San Francisco public defender makes the case that mass incarceration cannot be addressed uless we address issues of mental health. 

Tags: Strategic Prosecution Strategic Prosecution

When it comes to pretrial release, few other jurisdictions do it D.C.’s way

July 2016  |  Washington Post  

Washington, D.C. is making our justice system fairer by demonstrating effective alternatives to money bail. Katherine Frey/The Washington Post

Tags: Strategic Prosecution Strategic Prosecution

New diversion program for King County youths offers ‘cooling off’ options

July 2016  |  Seattle Times  

The Family Intervention and Restorative Services (FIRS) program was launched last week in part by King County DA Dan Satterberg. "Its aim is to keep young people out of the criminal-justice system and give them a chance to participate in anger-management and other services designed to nip problem behaviors in the bud."

Tags: Strategic Prosecution Strategic Prosecution