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2022: Reforming Prosecution

Save the Date!

This year, the Loyola Law Review Symposium is brought to you in conjunction with the Vera Institute of Justice.

Register for this event here.

Reforming Prosecution: Methods, Politics, and Context
Date: March 11, 2022
Time: 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Location: Loyola New Orleans College of Law, 526 Pine Street, New Orleans, Louisiana, 70118

Tentative Schedule:

Welcome & Opening Remarks (9:00 a.m. – 9:30 am)

Panel 1: Methods of Reforming Prosecution I: To Jail or Not to Jail? (9:30 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.)

At the core of a prosecutor’s power is the power to seek the incarceration of an individual as punishment for a criminal violation. How should the power to incarcerate be exercised? This panel will feature reform prosecutors and staffers from across the nation who will discuss the policies and practices of their office regarding bail recommendations, charging, diversion programs, and plea bargaining. Regarding these areas, panelists will detail how their current practices differ from those of preceding administrations, any modifications in their approach since assuming office, and their long-term goals.

Panel 2: Methods of Reforming Prosecution II: …Until Proven Guilty (11:00 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.)

The office of the prosecutor is responsible for making the case for the guilt of an individual charged with a crime. The traditional perspective on the adversary system holds that prosecutors should zealously pursue a guilty verdict and leave justice to the judgement of the jury. How should reform prosecutors approach the pursuit of truth and justice in the courtroom? This panel will feature reform prosecutors and staffers from several cities who will discuss the policies and practices of their office regarding discovery, investigations (including working with police), judicial policies, and appeals. Regarding these areas, panelists will elaborate in detail on how their current practices differ from those of preceding administrations, any modifications in their approach since assuming office, and their long-term goals.

Lunch (12:20 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.)

Panel 3: The Politics of Reforming Prosecution (1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.)

Reform prosecutors are assailed from both sides of the ideological spectrum. Traditionally, it has been argued that reform policies undermine public safety, while other activists increasingly call for the wholesale abolition of prisons and police. Can reform prosecutors navigate these poles and maintain electoral majorities amongst the broad public that is equally concerned about crime and mass incarceration. What factors influence whether or not reform prosecutors can deliver public safety to their constituents while shrinking the carceral state?

Keynote: The Social Context of Contemporary Mass Incarceration (3:10 p.m. – 4:40 p.m.)

The prosecutorial reform movement is largely attributed as a response to mass incarceration. But where did mass incarceration come from? How does it relate to structural changes in the economy over the past several decades? How did the punitive turn in American criminal justice generate a popular constituency? How and to what extent was it opposed in its early stages, and why did this opposition fail? What are the possibilities and limits of reform prosecution in turning the tide?

Closing & Thank You (4:40 p.m. -5:00 p.m.)