A New Charge Afoot? Improving Prosecutors' Charging Practices

A New Charge Afoot? Improving Prosecutors' Charging Practices
Jon B. Gould, Rachel Bowman, Belen Lowrey-Kinberg
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From the book chapter:

"It is widely understood that prosecutors are powerful actors in the criminal justice system.1 Yet for years, prosecutors have operated largely outside of public view, leaving judges to serve as the public face of the criminal justice system.2 In the 1980s, state and federal governments created sentencing guidelines intended to increase uniformity. But such measures only accelerated the shift of discretionary power from judges toward prosecutors.3 Today, some observers contend that prosecutors are the most powerful players in the criminal justice system,4 serving as “crucial gatekeepers between the police and the courts.”5 Importantly, it is prosecutors who decide which cases even make it to a judge."


Gould, J., Bowman, R. & Lowrey-Kinberg, B. (2022). 2. A New Charge Afoot? Improving Prosecutors’ Charging Practices. In J. Gould & P. Metzger (Ed.), Transforming Criminal Justice: An Evidence-Based Agenda for Reform (pp. 48-70). New York, USA: New York University Press.