We ask D.A.'s to do a lot more than anybody else. Their actual oath is not to zealously defend their client, it's to do justice.
How much responsibility do prosecutors bear for over-incarceration? That's the question explored by John Pfaff, a professor of law at Fordham University and the author in 2017 of Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform. First among those “true causes” for Pfaff is the power of prosecutors, one he contends is very nearly unchecked. Thanks in part to Pfaff’s work, the debate over prosecutors is now very much front-and-center, but what would real reform look like? How much can we realistically expect from the emerging breed of progressive prosecutors? The interview with Pfaff is the first in our podcast series on the power of prosecutors.