CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, May 11, 2018

Demleitner on Federal Prosecutors and Mass Imprisonment

Demleitner noraNora V. Demleitner (Washington and Lee University) has posted Revisiting the Role of Federal Prosecutors in Times of Mass Imprisonment (30 Federal Sentencing Reporter, 165, 2018) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
The article highlights how the Department of Justice and its leadership can change even long-standing prosecutorial orthodoxy and prevailing approaches when they set out a clear mission and empower and guide prosecutors in implementing it. To decrease the number of federal prisoners, the Obama administration adopted a tri-partite strategy that included prevention and re-entry, co-equal with prosecutions. Yet the collection and analysis of relevant data continued to fall short which privileged old practices that emphasized the number of convictions and prison years imposed. A substantial investment in data is needed to support and reinforce a shift away from prison terms. Perhaps most importantly, the article questions the role federal prosecutors should play at a time prisons remain overcrowded despite a historically low crime rate. The criminal justice paradigm may not be an appropriate avenue for addressing social problems.

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