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De‐prosecution and death: A synthetic control analysis of the impact of de‐prosecution on homicides

De‐prosecution and death: A synthetic control analysis of the impact of de‐prosecution on homicides What would happen to the number of homicides in a city if the prosecutor's office stopped charging and convicting defendants of a broad range of crimes? De‐prosecution is the discretionary decision not to prosecute certain criminal conduct, regardless of whether the crimes actually were committed. De‐prosecution can take place at multiple points in the criminal justice system: pre‐offense, charging, pretrial proceedings, or sentencings. The city of Philadelphia presents a natural experiment to answer the question about the impact of de‐prosecution. Following a lengthy traditional period of prosecutions, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office (the “DAO”) engaged in a systematic policy of de‐prosecution from 2015 to 2019. This policy covered both misdemeanors and felonies, with a particular emphasis on de‐prosecuting drug possession, drug trafficking, and felons possessing firearms. In this study, I evaluate whether the policy of de‐prosecution has a material impact on homicides in Philadelphia.This article uses a two‐step approach to examine the impact of de‐prosecution on homicides. First, I review descriptive statistics for prosecutorial and homicide trends in Philadelphia during 2010–2019. From 2010 to 2014, Philadelphia employed relatively vigorous and consistent prosecutorial policies. From 2015 to 2019, Philadelphia engaged in a methodical de‐prosecution strategy encompassing felonies and misdemeanors, corresponding http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Criminology and Public Policy Wiley

De‐prosecution and death: A synthetic control analysis of the impact of de‐prosecution on homicides

Criminology and Public Policy , Volume 21 (3) – Aug 1, 2022

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References (50)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
© 2022 of The American Society of Criminology.
ISSN
1538-6473
eISSN
1745-9133
DOI
10.1111/1745-9133.12597
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

What would happen to the number of homicides in a city if the prosecutor's office stopped charging and convicting defendants of a broad range of crimes? De‐prosecution is the discretionary decision not to prosecute certain criminal conduct, regardless of whether the crimes actually were committed. De‐prosecution can take place at multiple points in the criminal justice system: pre‐offense, charging, pretrial proceedings, or sentencings. The city of Philadelphia presents a natural experiment to answer the question about the impact of de‐prosecution. Following a lengthy traditional period of prosecutions, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office (the “DAO”) engaged in a systematic policy of de‐prosecution from 2015 to 2019. This policy covered both misdemeanors and felonies, with a particular emphasis on de‐prosecuting drug possession, drug trafficking, and felons possessing firearms. In this study, I evaluate whether the policy of de‐prosecution has a material impact on homicides in Philadelphia.This article uses a two‐step approach to examine the impact of de‐prosecution on homicides. First, I review descriptive statistics for prosecutorial and homicide trends in Philadelphia during 2010–2019. From 2010 to 2014, Philadelphia employed relatively vigorous and consistent prosecutorial policies. From 2015 to 2019, Philadelphia engaged in a methodical de‐prosecution strategy encompassing felonies and misdemeanors, corresponding

Journal

Criminology and Public PolicyWiley

Published: Aug 1, 2022

Keywords: de‐prosecution; homicide; prosecution; sentencing; synthetic control

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