Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Eric Helland

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.


This study examines the relationship between prosecutorial orientation and its impact on crime. The movement for progressive prosecutorial reform, as noted by district attorney leniency in criminal justice enforcement, has gained substantial traction within the past ten years. However, the available research within the crime and punishment discourse largely fails to measure the outcome of prosecution style on criminal activity. The current study fills that gap by measuring five variables of prosecutorial orientation (overall leniency, death penalty stance, approach to crime, decriminalization of minor drug offenses, and reform to reduce incarceration) and their impact across ten crime levels reported by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report. Findings were uniformly negative across all leniency indices, meaning that stricter prosecution methods resulted in less crime across the board. Policy implications emphasize the effectiveness of strict prosecution over progressive reform that targets equitable outcomes.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.