Provides compelling and manageable solutions for how to reform the criminal justice system from the inside out
A racial reckoning in the US criminal justice system was long overdue well before the highly publicized murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many others in 2020. Progressive Prosecution argues that prosecutors, having helped build our failed system of mass incarceration, must now lead the charge to dismantle it.
With contributions from practicing district attorneys as well as leading scholars in the fields of law and criminal justice, Taylor-Thompson and Thompson’s volume offers an unapologetically ambitious vision for reform. The contributors draw from empirical evidence and years of combined research experience to argue that change must happen at the local level, with prosecutors choosing to adopt race-conscious approaches. These prosecutors must do the hard work themselves, actively focusing on the ways that race misshapes perceptions of criminality, influences discretionary calls, affects how we select juries, and induces a reliance on punitive responses. Progressive Prosecution acts as both a call to action and a practical guide, instructing prosecutors on what they need to do to bring about lasting and meaningful change. Progressive Prosecution is an urgent work of scholarship, a must-read for anyone committed to racial equity and meaningful criminal justice reform.
Anthony C. Thompson is Professor of Clinical Law Emerita at New York University School of Law and is the Founding Faculty Director of the Center on Race, Inequality and the Law at NYU School of Law. Kim Taylor-Thompson is Professor of Clinical Law Emerita at New York University School of Law. She founded the Criminal Justice Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. Her writing examines the distorting effect of race on justice. Taylor-Thompson practiced for a decade at the D.C. Public Defender Service, ultimately serving as Director.
Anthony C. Thompson is Professor of Clinical Law, Emeritus at New York University School of Law. Professor Thompson is the author of a number of articles and books including Dangerous Leaders and Releasing Prisoners/Redeeming Communities, among others.
My approach as District Attorney has been to improve public safety and strengthen community trust by shrinking the footprint of the justice system and promoting fairness, racial equity, and humanity. Progressive Prosecution: Race and Reform in Criminal Justice provides a wide breadth of theoretical and practical advice to help replicate this vision, and identifies central elements that guide our movement, including juvenile justice, data-driven policies, and equal representation. It should be considered required reading not just for prosecutors, but for anyone who’s involved in or cares about the American legal system.
~Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez
Featuring an an all-star cast of expert contributors, Progressive Prosecution offers tremendous guidance to prosecutors who seek to make progressive reforms, both at the abstract level of vision and at the more concrete level of practical steps. This impressive volume will surely make a substantial contribution to the field.
~Carol Steiker, Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
This important and timely work, expertly compiled by truly informed advocates, is rich with insight, innovation, and guidance. A must read for anyone interested in improving the fairness and reliability of the justice system.
~Bryan Stevenson, founder and Executive Director, Equal Justice Initiative
Progressive Prosecution: Race and Reform in Criminal Justiceacts as both a call to action and a practical guide, instructing prosecutors on what they need to do to bring about lasting and meaningful change.
In short, Race and Reform is brimming with ideas that could be, and in some locales already have been, incorporated into a substantive vision for prosecutorial reform.
~Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books
Contributors, which include practicing US district attorneys and scholars, draw from empirical evidence and years of experience to argue that change must happen at the local level; prosecutors need to adopt race-conscious approaches, actively focusing on the ways in which race misshapes perceptions of criminality, influences discretionary calls, affects jury selection, and induces a reliance on punitive responses.
~Law & Social Inquiry