Prosecutor Caseload Report

REJOINDER

Problem

There is debate over whether prosecutors need more staff and resources or if that will undermine justice reform efforts.

Background

Prosecutors in large jurisdictions often handle heavy caseloads, leading to concerns about delays, oversights, and burnout, which can disproportionately impact minority groups. Prosecutors argue that increased staffing is needed to ensure constitutional protections, adequate time per case, and expansion of diversion programs. However, some justice reform advocates fear that giving prosecutors more resources will lead to more prosecutions, convictions, and incarceration, reversing recent reform gains, especially in minority communities. There has been very limited objective research on optimal staffing levels for prosecutors.

 

Policy Response

The report recommends prosecutors justify staffing needs based on multiple factors like caseloads, time spent per case, diversions, and community impact. Standards should align with equity and decarceration goals.

 

Key Takeaways

  • Research on optimal prosecutor staffing levels is lacking.
  • Overworked prosecutors may cause case delays, errors, and stress. 
  • More prosecutors could expand diversions if aligned with reform goals.
  • Prosecutors should tie staffing requests to clear workload metrics and equity goals.