Changes to charging practices keep some individuals arrested for lower-level offenses out of the criminal justice system.
Several head prosecutors have reformed their offices’ roles as gatekeepers to the criminal justice system by declining to prosecute low-level offenses.
- In August 2017, in Illinois, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx stopped prosecuting individuals driving with revoked or suspended licenses if the suspension was tied to a failure to pay fees such as parking tickets, tolls, or child support. In 2016, prior to taking office, Foxx announced that she would only charge shoplifting cases as felonies if an individual stole items valued at $1,000 or more and/or had 10 prior felony convictions.
- Also in August 2017, four of New York City’s five district attorneys dismissed a total of 644,000 outstanding warrants for lower-level offenses that would have resulted only in a fine or community service if the individual were convicted.