U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Prosecution in the Community: A Study of Emergent Strategies--A Cross Site Analysis

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 1998
356 pages
This study examined the practices, programs, and developing approaches of four prosecutors recognized by their peers, other researchers, and government officials as contributors to new trends in prosecution and examined the process of change by which the prosecutors established new approaches based on problem-solving and a community orientation.
The study included a review of literature reflecting research on prosecution and prosecutorial operations since the American Bar Foundation Survey conducted in the 1950’s. The study’s empirical research component was exploratory and descriptive. It assessed potential opportunities and liabilities involved in prosecutorial changes at four sites: Travis County (Austin, TX), Suffolk County (Boston, MA), Marion County (Indianapolis, IN), and Jackson County (Kansas City, MO). Results reveal that these prosecutors are moving rapidly toward community prosecution as a new strategy of prosecution. However, no office has achieved a complete transition to the new prosecution strategy. The changes range from limited to moderate. Prosecutors are redefining their mission from reactively processing cases presented to them to collaborating with other criminal justice agencies and the community to address the problems and priorities of citizens in their communities. The new goals of prosecution include preventing and reducing disorder and crime, restoring victims and communities to more effective and healthier functioning, and empowering citizens. Among changes are the inclusion of more non-lawyers in prosecutors’ offices and the combination of prosecution with additional tactics. Findings also indicated that police and prosecutors are structuring new patterns of relating to each other and working together. The analysis concludes that agencies will continue to use traditional measures of arrest and conviction and will apply several types of measures to assess outcomes of problem-solving. Chart, footnotes, appended case studies of each jurisdiction, and 174 references

Date Published: September 1, 1998