Race, Gender and Prosecution

 Race and Gender Diversity in California Prosecutors' Offices icon

Race, Gender and Prosecution

client No Client instructors David Sklansky, Debbie Mukamal
deliverables Stuck in the '70s: The Demographics of California Prosecutors,   Diversity in Prosecutors' Offices: Views from the Front Line number of students students (Law)
deadline Spring 2015 quarters offered Spring


Although police departments have collected and reported data on racial and gender diversity for decades, no similar information is publicly available for prosecutors’ offices, despite the longstanding belief that diversity is important for criminal justice decision makers. Recent controversies around the country about the investigation and prosecution of killings by police officers have only underscored the continued importance of attention to the role that race plays in the administration of justice in our country. This practicum works with a California client to collect and analyze data from 62 California prosecutors’ offices with the goal of determining how staff diversity affects decision-making and operations of justice. Students will develop a database, conduct a literature review, and research other states public records laws in anticipation of expanding the study.


Graphic by Margaret Hagan, Stanford University

Stuck in the ’70s: The Demographics of California Prosecutors

Stanford Law School students worked with the Stanford Criminal Justice Center to make the demographics of California prosecutors available for the first time. Data that the team gathered from prosecutors’ offices in 52 of California’s 58 counties, representing nearly 98 percent of the state’s population, found that whites, who comprise slightly more than 38 percent of the state’s population, hold nearly 70 percent of prosecutors’ jobs.

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Diversity in Prosecutors’ Offices: Views from the Front Line

We released the report, Stuck in the ’70s, analyzing our findings in Summer 2015. Building off these findings, in Fall 2015, with the assistance of five law students enrolled in a practicum, we conducted case studies on five counties to better understand the importance of and strategies for diversifying prosecutors’ offices.

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