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Community Prosecution Strategies: Measuring Impact

NCJ Number
Cheryl Irons-Guynn; John S. Goldkamp; Doris Weiland
Date Published
November 2002
12 pages
This document discusses evaluating community prosecution sites.
Community prosecution is a departure from the case and conviction orientation of traditional prosecution. Community prosecution strategies vary according to the needs and circumstances of each locality, but they share underlying features. The key dimensions that characterize community prosecution initiatives are the target problems, the geographic target area, the role of the community, the content of the response to community problems, organizational changes within the prosecutor’s office, case processing adaptations, and interagency collaboration and partnerships relating to the initiative. Measuring the impact of community prosecution begins with understanding what it is and what it proposes to accomplish. The philosophy behind community prosecution is to develop new collaborative relationships in an effort to be more responsive to the crime-related concerns of the community. The conceptual framework for evaluating community prosecution initiatives recognizes the distinct and joint roles played by the prosecutor and the community. Measurements of performance and impact should factor in the new goals, rules, and desired outcomes for both the prosecutor and the community. The separate and combined roles of the prosecutor and the community in community prosecution strategies may be examined in terms of each of the key dimensions of community prosecution. Community prosecution programs should be evaluated based on their achievement of implementation-stage goals first and on measurable results after the planned strategy is successfully implemented. Evaluation can provide jurisdictions with data to assess the strengths and weaknesses of various elements and approaches. 3 tables, 9 notes, 4 references