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Race + Prosecution
Wednesday, September 22, 2021, 3:00 PM until 4:30 PM
Prosecutors play a significant role in determining the trajectory of individual cases and shaping system-wide outcomes in the criminal legal system. Broad, and often unchecked, prosecutorial discretion throughout the process—from making charging and diversion decisions to offering bail and plea recommendations —contributes to racial disparities throughout the entire system. According to a report out of the University of Michigan Law School, federal prosecutors file charges that carry mandatory minimum sentences 65% more often against Black defendants than against other defendants, all other conditions remaining the same. The Sentencing Project similarly found that prosecutors are more likely to charge Black defendants under state habitual offender laws than similarly situated white defendants. Additionally, a recent report from Florida International University and Loyola University Chicago investigated diversion at offices in Chicago, Jacksonville, Milwaukee, and Tampa and found that Black defendants had the lowest diversion rate among felony cases in all four jurisdictions.
NACDL is partnering with Fair & Just Prosecution to host Race + Prosecution, a discussion about racial disparities in prosecution, how to reduce these disparities, and ways to center racial equity in prosecutorial reform efforts. This webinar is a part of NACDL’s ongoing Race and the Criminal Legal System Discussion Series.
The discussion will feature Professor Angela J. Davis, Distinguished Professor of Law, American University Washington College of Law (moderator); Akhi Johnson, Acting Director, Reshaping Prosecution, Vera Institute of Justice; and Wesley Caines, Chief of Staff at The Bronx Defenders.