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Reducing Gun Violence: Strategies for Prosecutors

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2017
5 pages
This technical assistance report features practice and training suggestions for prosecutors in countering gun violence in their jurisdictions.

Communities with a high prevalence of gun violence are creating innovative programs to counter gun violence. Prosecutors and law enforcement agencies have forged many effective partnerships and developed creative approaches for reducing gun violence in their jurisdictions. Some of the most innovative and effective programs partner with law enforcement, use data analysts and researchers to better inform prosecutors and law enforcement of community needs, and provide an evidentiary and data-driven basis for their approach. A model with these features is Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun and gang crime by networking existing local programs that target gun crime. PSN funding is being used to hire new Federal and State prosecutors, support investigators, provide training, distribute gun lock safety kits, deter juvenile gun crime, and develop and promote community outreach efforts. Another effective system is the "arrest alert" strategy used by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office (New York). This system immediately notifies prosecutors of arrests that involve habitually violent individuals. This enables prosecutors to tailor their charging and sentencing recommendations for the effective management of these individuals. Another effective strategy is the Smart Prosecution Initiative (SPI) administered by the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance. SPI promotes effective, data-driven, research-based strategies for prosecution and prosecutor-led justice system reforms. Some examples of SPI strategies in various jurisdictions are provided. Another prosecutorial effort in countering gun violence is the effort to prevent perpetrators of domestic violence from obtaining guns. Further training and technical assistance for prosecutors in addressing gun violence are suggested.