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Beyond Big Cities: The Problem-Solving Innovations of Community Prosecutors in Smaller Jurisdictions

NCJ Number
Date Published
24 pages
This paper describes how smaller towns and counties have adapted the basic strategies of a community prosecution approach to fit their unique needs.
The experiences of the smaller jurisdictions described in this paper show that community prosecution is not only needed in smaller communities, but can also be adapted to fit the area needs. The most pressing problem these smaller communities faced as they attempted to cobble together community prosecution programs was a lack of resources. Among the lessons learned in these small jurisdictions was the importance of including as many parts of the community as possible; the importance of communicating the values and goals of the program to partners; program implementation should take place only after baseline data on community problems has been collected; and the use of volunteers can help stretch scarce resources. The paper describes how prosecutors in smaller jurisdictions went about conducting needs assessments of community problems and how they developed partnerships with other agencies, allowing them to pool their limited resources. The paper discusses how jurisdictions created citizen enthusiasm for their community prosecution programs, as well as how they encouraged active police partnerships. Since grants from the Federal Government for programming such as community prosecution programs tend to be short-term, smaller jurisdictions must work to sustain their program funding over the long-term. In the examples presented, smaller jurisdictions relied on partner organizations for funding assistance, as well as strategies involving targeting resources and identifying no-cost solutions. The paper also describes the main characteristics that make smaller jurisdictions unique, such as their often larger jurisdictional boundaries and changing populations, as well as the advantages of smaller jurisdictions, which include greater knowledge of the community and a greater spirit of cooperation. Notes

Date Published: January 1, 2004