Progressive Prosecution: Law and Policy

Although prosecuting attorneys have typically taken a "tough-on-crime" approach, a growing number of elected prosecutors from across the country are taking a "progressive" approach. These "progressive prosecutors" see their role as combatting overincarceration, eliminating racial and socioeconomic inequity, and changing a criminal legal system that too frequently exacerbates those inequities.

This course, co-taught by Washtenaw County Prosecuting Attorney Eli Savit and Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Victoria Burton-Harris, will explore the theoretical underpinnings behind the "progressive prosecutor" movement; its promises and limitations; and the progress the movement has made over the past several years. During the latter part of the course, students will work on real-world research and writing projects that will be used by the Washtenaw County Prosecutor's Office to move forward its progressive vision.