Progressive Prosecution in a Pandemic

20 Pages Posted: 20 May 2020 Last revised: 29 May 2020

See all articles by Chad Flanders

Chad Flanders

Saint Louis University - School of Law

Stephen Galoob

University of Tulsa College of Law

Date Written: May 19, 2020


This article, written as introduction to a conference volume on “progressive prosecution,” tries to situate the progressive prosecution movement in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The article briefly describes the movement and its main goals before considering three possible results of the pandemic on progressive prosecution: 1) an optimistic result, where the urgency of releasing people from prisons and jails bolsters the ideals of progressive prosecution, 2) a mixed result, where there is only a temporary convergence between the progressive prosecution agenda and a more self-interested public-health impetus for release, and 3) a pessimistic result, where concerns for public health and public safety serve to crowd out any effective movement for criminal justice reform. We conclude by laying out some future challenges to progresive prosecution.

Keywords: prosecution, criminal law, COVID-19

Suggested Citation

Flanders, Chad and Galoob, Stephen, Progressive Prosecution in a Pandemic (May 19, 2020). Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

Chad Flanders (Contact Author)

Saint Louis University - School of Law ( email )

100 N. Tucker Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63101
United States

Stephen Galoob

University of Tulsa College of Law ( email )

3120 E. Fourth Place
Tulsa, OK 74104
United States

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