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Changing Nature of Prosecution: Community Prosecution vs. Traditional Prosecution Approaches

NCJ Number
M. Elaine Nugent; Patricia Fanflik; Delene Bromirski
Date Published
February 2004
36 pages
A total of 879 prosecutors' offices responded to a nationwide survey that was designed to clarify how community prosecution and traditional prosecution differ in practice and whether community prosecution constitutes a philosophical change from traditional prosecution.
Community prosecution has been defined as proactive cooperation between a prosecutor's office and community representatives in an effort to target for prosecution those crimes and disorder issues that are of greatest concern to the community. In attempting to frame any practical and philosophical differences between traditional and community prosecution, the survey focused on key elements of community prosecution, similarities and differences between offices that practice community prosecution and those that do not, and perceptions about different prosecutorial roles and desired outcomes. The survey found that the key elements of community prosecution were the use of partnerships with a wide variety of government agencies and community-based groups; various prevention, intervention, and enforcement methods, including problemsolving; and community involvement in determining priorities for the use of prosecutorial resources. Traditional prosecution, on the other hand, did not involve significant consultation and collaboration with other government agencies and community representatives in setting priorities for allocating prosecutorial resources or mounting efforts to prevent crime. Still, both community and traditional prosecution agreed about the ideal outcomes of prosecutorial efforts, i.e., holding offenders accountable and ensuring public safety by reducing and preventing crimes. Thus, traditional and community prosecution shared the same philosophical aims, but adopted different strategies in pursuing those aims. 13 exhibits

Date Published: February 1, 2004