Consider the following people:
- The President of the United States
- The Pope
- The Attorney General of the United States
- The Head of the FBI or CIA
- The Speaker of the House
- The Senate Majority Leader
- Any of the 50 State Governors
- Any of the 50 State Attorney Generals
- The Head of the NAACP or the ACLU
- The Dean of any Law School
- The State or Federal Head of Prisons
- The Head of the Democratic or Republican Party
- Your Local Mayor
- Your Local City Council President
- The Editor in Chief of Your Local Paper
- A Major Tech CEO
- Chief of Police.
So what do all of these people have in common?
Answer: Not a single one of them is the most important person to reform the criminal justice system.
Sure, these people are influential. They can all DABBLE in the justice system and/or influence it in one way or another. However, there is one person who has a much larger impact on the criminal justice system than you may realize. This person has so much power that’s it’s almost unbelievable.
Who is it?
Your local prosecutor.
In most areas, they’re referred to as District Attorneys or DAs for short. Some states even call them the Commonwealth’s Attorney. Other states call them the State’s Attorney. Essentially, it’s all the same position; this person is the elected prosecutor for your city or county, depending on where you live.
No single position has more power to drastically alter the criminal justice system than your locally elected prosecutor.
In understanding that, here are a few things that are being done with respect to this space:
National DA Database
Assembling a national DAs database will not only help you identify your local District Attorney, but it will also allow people to assess their positions on a myriad of issues, as well as provide you with important dates and voting information.
In addition to creating an accessible database, there will be help in recruiting exciting new candidates for local DA races. There will be a nationwide awareness campaign to help encourage attorneys focused on reform to enter the race to modify the justice system.
Direct Campaign Work
Finally, there will be a significant amount of work done on these candidates’ campaigns to ensure that they are elected. Unsurprisingly, this is where most of the real work is. Since DA races are often an afterthought in the U.S., people will be working hard to bring the prosecutorial races into the light.
As it stands, the United States has more than 2,400 elected prosecutors. These people are truly the gatekeepers of the justice system, and there will be an impactful and positive change happening with respect to our prosecutors very soon.