court room

Racial Disparities and Prosecutorial Discretion

Prosecutors’ ability to exercise a wide degree of discretion has the potential to contribute to equitable—or inequitable—outcomes for defendants. This study analyzed felony cases accepted for prosecution by the Denver District Attorney’s Office to understand the presence and extent of racial and ethnic differences at four key points of prosecutorial discretion. Administrative data was supplemented with qualitative interviews to understand the factors that may be contributing to differences. Next steps will examine outcomes to better understand the context and decision-making processes associated with areas of disparities.