Justice at the Ballot Box: How Holding Prosecutors Accountable in Elections is Key to Criminal Justice Reform

Justice at the Ballot Box: How Holding Prosecutors Accountable in Elections is Key to Criminal Justice Reform

Session Type(s): Panel

Starts: Friday, Jul. 15 1:00 PM (Central)

Ends: Friday, Jul. 15 2:15 PM (Central)

Room: 224

Prosecutors may be the most powerful people in our criminal justice system. They have broad discretion to choose if and how to charge. Too many refuse to hold police accountable when they kill Black people while over-prosecuting and incarcerating Black folks for far less damaging crimes. Most prosecutors are chosen by the people, but who do they really serve? Nationwide, there are nearly 2400 elected prosecutors, yet more than 70% run unopposed. Prosecutor elections offer an opportunity to make voting feel meaningful for so many people by holding bad actors accountable. How do we shift the narrative in prosecutor races and create a framework that truly responds to our communities’ needs? And where are the best opportunities to unseat bad prosecutors in the future?

Moderator

Panelists

Blake Strode

Blake.Strode

Blake Strode is a Skadden Fellow and Staff Attorney at ArchCity Defenders, a non-profit civil rights law firm providing holistic legal advocacy and combating the criminalization of poverty and state violence against poor people and people of color. ACD uses direct services, impact litigation, and policy and media advocacy as its primary tools to promote justice, protect civil and human rights, and bring about systemic change. ACD works closely with local organizers and activists in support of their intersectional work and has been very active in protest representation as well as litigation around issues of debtors’ prison, police misconduct and unconstitutional court practices. Blake is a native of the St. Louis region and an alumnus of the University of Arkansas (BSBA, BA ’09) and Harvard Law School (JD ’15). He is a co-author of “Debtors’ Prison in 21st-Century America,” which appeared in The Atlantic in February of 2016.