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Prosecution's Coming of Age

NCJ Number
Justice Research and Policy Volume: 2 Issue: 1 Dated: Spring 2000 Pages: 21-46
Brian Forst
Date Published
This article describes the state of prosecution at the turn of the millenium and recent innovations in prosecution and their implications.
After describing sources of resistance to innovation, the article focuses on breakthroughs in information and forensic technology and their effects on prosecution. It also discusses the effects of social movements on reshaping prosecution as a community-spirited service delivery system, the introduction of preventive strategies in policing and their effects on prosecution and associated adjustments in prosecution management. It identifies the absence of comprehensive, periodic, visible systems of public accountability as the great problem in contemporary prosecution, one that retards innovation and productivity. The article includes suggestions for a more effective, efficient, and just system of prosecution. District attorneys and attorneys general can do more to enhance the legitimacy of prosecution by thoughtfully adopting innovations that aim to secure order and elevate the quality of life throughout the community. They can do more to prevent crime and thus reduce the fear of crime, and can do so without jeopardizing defendants’ rights to due process. They can make themselves considerably more accountable to the public along the way. Such enhancements would lend legitimacy not only to the prosecutor, but to the entire criminal justice system. Notes, references