Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2021


Rutgers University Law Review





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Thank you so much, Madeline. I want to thank the Rutgers University Law Review and the Rutgers Center on Criminal Justice, Youth Rights, and Race for inviting me to participate in this very important symposium on Prosecutors, Power, and Racial Justice: Building an Anti-Racist Prosecutorial System. I want to give a special thanks to Professor Cohen and Gisselly, and all of the students who worked so hard to put the symposium together. It's such an important topic. I appreciate your interest, and [I] am particularly thankful to all of you [who] are here on this Friday afternoon to talk about these issues with us.

The topic of my talk is Prosecutors and Race: Responsibility and Accountability. By the end of the talk, I hope you'll know why I chose this title. I believe that prosecutors should be held responsible and accountable for the current situation in the criminal legal system-and that is a crisis. I truly believe that we are at a point of crisis in our criminal legal system. We have 2.2 million people in prisons and jails, with 7 million or so people on probation or parole and with extraordinary unwarranted racial disparities at every step of the process. Black and Brown people are more likely than white people to be arrested. Once arrested, they're more likely to be convicted. Once convicted, they're more likely to face stiff[er] and long[er] sentences. African American men are six times more likely to be incarcerated than white men and 2.5 times more likely than Latino men. If current trends continue, one in every three Black men today can expect to go to prison in his lifetime, as can one in six Latino men compared to one in seventeen white men. The racial and ethnic disparities among women, although less substantial, are also very prevalent. So, we're in a state of crisis-not only with regard to mass incarceration, but also with unwarranted racial disparities.



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