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Report: 79% of Elected Prosecutors Are White Men

A comprehensive analysis reveals that 79 percent of elected prosecutors in the United States are White men.

The report, Justice for All?, was released by the Reflective Democracy Campaign. The campaign is part of the Women Donors Network.

The analysis details the race and gender of all 2,437 elected prosecutors in the U.S. It further found that 15 states have all White men in elected prosecutor positions and that 60 percent of states have no Black prosecutors at all.

“The tremendous power and discretion in the hands of prosecutors, combined with the concentration of those positions among one demographic group, virtually guarantees inequality in our criminal justice system,” said Brenda Choresi Carter, Director of the Reflective Democracy Campaign. “In the context of such skewed numbers, when a white male prosecutor fails to secure an indictment in Ferguson and another sends a woman of color in Indiana to prison for 20 years for feticide, we have to ask serious questions about systemic bias.”

The report also revealed that 85 percent of incumbent elected prosecutors run unopposed for re-election, a finding that researchers credit to either a lack of interest or awareness of the vital role played in U.S. democracy by the elected positions.

The Reflective Democracy Campaign works to increase the power of women and people of color in American public life. The campaign uses ground-breaking research, catalytic grant-making and strategic communications.

Like many vital positions of power, the report reveals that women and people of color are practically invisible in these powerful elected positions.

Elected prosecutors decide whether to charge a criminal case and whether a potential charge will be deemed a misdemeanor or felony. Prosecutors also play a vital role in determining the length of a defendant’s prison sentence.

The Women Donors Network is a community of progressive women who contribute to a more just and fair world through collaborative learning and action. Learn more at womendonors.org.

Click here for the full report.