Challenges Prosecutor’s


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Challenges Prosecutor’s Face When Implementing New Reforms


In criminal justice, a prosecutor is an attorney representing the state or government responsible for trying and charging law offenders. They are powerful actors in the corridors of criminal justice. For many years, prosecutors have been labeled supervisors of safety and administrators of justice. Prosecutors’ discretionary powers range from deciding the charges to purse, the witnesses who will be interviewed, bail recommendation, to the kind of sentences to recommend. Additionally, prosecutors are also in charge of the process of plea bargaining which resolves about 95% of criminal cases. There are 2,300 prosecutors’ offices in the United States that house the custodians of the criminal justice system. Over the years, prosecutors continue to face various challenges in their mandate of implementing new reforms. The purpose of this essay is to assess the challenges that prosecutors face in their line of work including struggles with accountability issues, data organization, admissibility of digital information, and staff retention

Staffing and Resources

First, hiring staff members that are qualified can limit the ability of a prosecutor’s office to implement reforms. This is the case especially when there are limited resources to support the prosecutor’s work. Retaining staff requires not only hiring the right people but also identifying their skills and training them to support their advancement (Arnell, and Laura 89). Further, it requires developing incentives to caution workers from searching for better opportunities elsewhere. In essence, it requires offering them attractive and completive remuneration packages. There is a lot of competition from the private sector and other agencies hence the need for prosecutors to be creative in compensating and awarding staff performance as well as to give employees opportunities to develop themselves. Worth noting, prosecutors have the responsibility of educating new attorneys and law students concerning the role of prosecutors in boosting recruitment efforts in the community. There is a perception that the only role of the prosecutor is convicting offenders and ensuring they stay in prison for as long as possible which is not true. As such, young advocates and law students should be exposed to the work and impact of prosecutors through clinics, presentations, courses, and externships. While these practices are well reputable in the field of criminal defense, they can also be used as a model for the prosecution field. In so doing, they will be preparing them for their future roles as they will serve as members of staff in the prosecution offices of in the criminal justice field in general.

Admissibility of Digital Information

Second, prosecutors face the challenge of the diversity of data available for prosecution functions and in particular digital information. This is owing to the emerging trends and advancements in technology. Technology has made it possible for the collection of evidence such as body-worn cameras and social media content (Green, 589). However, this presents a question of its admissibility and authenticity of such evidence in a court of law. This kind of evidence is different from the physical evidence and much is at stake because it can easily be doctored. Additionally, as regards digital information, there is also the challenge of how to store and manage it particularly when the case is ongoing and during case disposition. Although digital evidence is admissible, it can be disadvantageous because it is time-consuming and overwhelming to review. In some cases, the data can be in form of video footage that is hours long. As digital evidence continues advancing, prosecutors with reviewing it accessing funds to store the bulky data. Sometimes the amount of digital data that prosecutors should review can be managed through the use of data reduction and mining solutions, steep learning curves, and high costs are involved making it impossible for a prosecutor’s office to adopt the technologies. Additionally, in the cases of video evidence, prosecutors will be required to secure an appropriate location to redact this information because at times it can involve sensitive evidence such as sexual assault of identities of underage victims of sexual assault. The process can be labor and time-intensive.

The Challenge of Data Organization

Another issue that prosecutors have to contend with is how to manage and organize data. The cases that prosecutors deal with cover various complex issues. To properly manage this kind of data requires a data management system to make it easy to access and understand the various cases. Notably, understanding cases goes beyond looking at conviction rates. A prosecution that is intelligence-led employs predictive analytics among other analysis techniques as they have the potential of attaining, fairer, more sensible and more efficient criminal justice outcomes. Worth noting, technology advancement has raised a question of the availability of large data and ethical concerns including raising legal concerns over the right to privacy of the witness and defendant. Additionally, a prosecutor can be impacted by the ability to give complete and accurate data in the cases posing a financial effect. There is a need to provide quality and transparent data not only in the criminal justice spectra but also across agencies and to members of the public. There is also a need for uniformity to a great extent.

Accountability Issues

In addition to constitutional requirements, prosecutors are held to high ethical standards that inform how they should approach and perform duties. These standards are important as they protect prosecutors through supporting their decisions and also holding them accountable for their mistakes. Historically, the district attorney was tasked with prosecutorial accountability to sanction them when they misbehave (Sarma, 573). The Supreme Court states that district attorneys and prosecutors are exempted from civil liability. Although the decision by the courts was impeding efforts of holding prosecutors to account in the past, the office of prosecutor has recently managed to implement wrongful convictions. Moreover, prosecutors stand the risk of overseeing wrongful convictions which tends to raise questions about their integrity. Instituting conviction integrity units can go a long way in eliminating the risk of wrongful convictions occurring. Such units are instrumental in pointing out the common causes of wrongful convictions among them the discovery of exonerating DNA evidence and evidence which was mishandled. Additionally, with a well-functional and well-organized data management system, organizations’ operations are set to improve which makes it easier to share information and hold employees accountable for integrity issues.


Prosecutors are deemed administers of justice and supervisors of safety. Their powers range from deciding the charges to purse, the witnesses who will be interviewed, bail recommendation, to deciding the kind of sentences to recommend. In their attempt to implement reforms prosecutors go through challenges including accountability issues, data organization, admissibility of digital information, and staff retention.

Works Cited

Arnell, Paul, and Laura Sharp. “Challenges to prosecutorial discretion.” Scots Law Times 21 (2016).

Green, Bruce A. “Prosecutorial Discretion: The Difficulty and Necessity of Public Inquiry.” Dickinson L. Rev. 123 (2018): 589.

Sarma, Bidish. “Using Deterrence Theory to Promote Prosecutorial Accountability.” Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 21 (2017): 573.

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