Project Safe Neighborhoods: Strategic Interventions, Gun Prosecution Case Screening: Case Study 1   [open pdf - 246KB]

"A series of promising practices and interventions has emerged in PSN [Project Safe Neighborhoods] sites across the country. [...] The current study focuses on gun case screening. Many PSN task forces have implemented some form of a joint federal-local screening process to decide whether gun cases should be prosecuted federally or locally. The fundamental goal of the gun case screening process is to ensure that gun crimes are prioritized for prosecution in the most appropriate venue (i.e., federal versus local court). The structure of the screening process varies significantly across PSN task forces but typically includes an Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA), a local prosecutor, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and local law enforcement. Cases are screened to assess eligibility for federal prosecution and to compare whether federal or local prosecution will yield more severe sanctions. In some jurisdictions, where severe prison overcrowding has resulted in weak sanctions for gun offenders at the state level, the screening is primarily to decide whether the case is eligible for federal prosecution. Most eligible gun cases will be prosecuted federally. In other jurisdictions, where state gun laws are more stringent, the gun case screening meeting is more focused on deciding which eligible cases should be prioritized for federal prosecution. Also known as 'Smart Prosecution,' joint screening (between federal and local prosecutors) is considered a key step towards focusing resources and tailoring PSN to local context."

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Bureau of Justice Assistance: http://www.bja.gov/
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