Beyond Conviction Rates: Measuring Success in Sexual Assault Prosecutions
Presented by Elaine Nugent-Borakove, President, Justice Management Institute and Jennifer Long, Director, AEquitas
Prosecutorial effectiveness is commonly measured by conviction rates, largely because they are readily available. But, are conviction rates an accurate measure of success? For difficult cases, like sexual assaults, conviction rates do not capture the quality of the prosecution strategies or the relative difficulty of the cases taken forward. Experienced prosecutors know they won’t win every case. In fact, some would argue that if you aren’t losing any cases, you aren’t trying the right ones. With a singular focus on high conviction rates, far too many cases go unprosecuted because of fears that the cases won’t be won, which results in sex offenders escaping justice and communities and victims being less safe. So, how can success in sexual assault prosecution be measured, if not by conviction rates? Is there a better way of measuring the effectiveness of practices in these cases that would allow us to improve and sustain them?
This presentation discussed promising sexual assault prosecution strategies as well as measuring effectiveness in a way that does not rely solely upon conviction rates. The presenters discussed other, more meaningful performance measures, and described how they can be used to more accurately measure and sustain effective prosecution practices.
Allied justice system professionals including but not limited to prosecutors, law enforcement officers, community-based service providers, and judges are encouraged to view the recording.
Click here to view the recording of the April 28, 2014 webinar.
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