Securing Equal Justice

Promoting Racial Equity in Prosecution

Prosecutors have enormous discretion to influence the outcome of a criminal case and, as a result, the course of someone’s life. The role that prosecutors have and continue to play in fueling mass incarceration and its disproportionate impact on minorities is receiving closer scrutiny nationally.

For roughly a decade, beginning in 2005, district attorneys in Charlotte, Milwaukee, San Diego, Lincoln, Nebraska, and most recently Manhattan worked with us to take a step back and look at whether charging and plea decisions are influenced by race, leading black people, Latino people and other people from minority backgrounds to be punished more severely than white people for the same crimes. The method and lessons from these cities are captured in a detailed guide designed to help any district attorney’s office engage in the same type of self-reflection and reform.

Related Work

Series: Justice in Katrina's Wake

What will be different for New Orleans in the years to come?

“What is different?” That question rested on the lips of the many people—policymakers, journalists, and funders—who visited New Orleans to survey the city’s progress 10 years after Hurricane Katrina. Some described the physical rebuilding of the city—stronger, better, safer—or the spirit of the people: resilient. Others challenged these depictions,...

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  • Luceia LeDoux
  • Charmel Gaulden
October 21, 2015
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Series: Beyond Innocence

Denying victim services to young men of color only adds to their pain

When children are harmed or killed, it kicks us in the gut with a steel-toed boot. “How could someone hurt an innocent child?” we ask. But another important question is whether that empathy would still be extended if the victim was 12 or 22, suspended from school for carrying a weapon, armed at the time of his or her death, or previously arrested f...

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  • Shameeka  Mattis
    Shameeka Mattis
October 01, 2015
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