Fighting Gang Violence With a Full Time Prosecutor

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The Jackson (MS) City Council is appointing a full-time gang prosecutor to ensure a previously funded grant position supported by the federal government stays permanent, reports the Jackson Sun. The job was originally funded by a federal Office of Justice Programs grant beginning in late 2013. “I think, if we had lost this position, it would have been a step backward in public safety and our ability to deal with the gang issues we have in the city,” said Madison County District Attorney General Jody Pickens. According to Pickens, the appointment will help “streamline” cases involving gang activity by forging strong connections between law enforcement and prosecution. He says that separate gang prosecutors can take advantage of the “vertical prosecution” approach, which involves the prosecutor working together with the Jackson police gang unit, the metro narcotics unit, and various other entities.  According to the DA’s office, using the vertical prosecution method has enabled the prosecution of 1,051 cases since 2014,  including 689 convictions.

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