What Is Community Prosecution?
Community prosecution is a strategy used by prosecutors to address crime in a neighborhood through decentralized, proactive problem-solving within a community. Hence, community prosecutors often work together with law enforcement, community groups, and others to address crime problems, public safety, and other quality-of-life issues. Community prosecutors interact with the community and address issues traditional prosecutors have not typically handled, such as problem-solving for crime prevention, public safety and health matters. Key elements of community prosecution include vertical prosecution, community advisory councils, problem mediation, and alternatives to incarceration programs.
Since the 1990's, increasing numbers of district attorneys' offices are implementing community prosecution. Nevertheless, no standard community prosecution strategy exists. Rather, community prosecution efforts are tailored to fit the unique needs of the communities they serve. Whereas traditional prosecution offices have focused mainly on case processing and convictions, community prosecution offices have taken a more proactive stance against crime by becoming more problem-oriented- dedicating efforts to crime prevention, community engagement, and development of collaborative relationships with other criminal justice agencies, private entities, and neighborhood residents.
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