Survey Finds Few African Americans Among the Nation’s Elected Prosecutors
Filed in Research & Studies on July 13, 2015
In recent months, there has been a number of reports on the disproportionate percentage of Whites on the police force in cities where African Americans make up a large segment of the population. But the criminal justice system goes far beyond the end of a nightstick.
A new study by the Reflective Democracy Campaign of the Women Donors Network shows that elected prosecutors in the United States are predominantly White men. Prosecutors wield tremendous power over whether charges are filed against a particular individual and often decide the severity of those charges. They approve plea bargains that set fines and sentences.
The data shows that 95 percent of the 2,437 elected prosecutors in this country are White. In 14 states all elected prosecutors are White. Some three fifths of all U.S. states have no elected Black prosecutors. If the states of Mississippi and Virginia are excluded from the calculations, only one percent of all elected prosecutors in the other states are Black. More than half of all elected Black prosecutors nationwide are in Virginia and Mississippi.