The Evolution of Prosecution

Gavel, scales of justice, and handcuffs


Adam Foss
Founder and President, Prosecutor Impact


Monday, November 13, 2017


RAND Corporation
1776 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA


The criminal justice system has been remarkably resistant to change and retains elements that can be traced back to its origins in the Middle Ages. Many aspects of the system produce results counter to their intended purpose. The US has the highest prison population in the world and the costliest criminal justice system, yet the most policed communities with the greatest incarceration rates continue to experience the most violent crime. What can be done to change the status quo? This talk will focus on the most powerful, and yet least understood role in the justice system: the prosecutor.

The talk will be followed by a moderated Q&A with RAND Senior Criminologist Jessica Saunders.


Adam J. Foss is a former Assistant District Attorney in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office (SCDAO) in Boston, MA. Foss is a strong advocate for criminal justice reform and the importance of the role of the prosecutor in ending high levels of incarceration. He believes that the profession of prosecution is ripe for reinvention requiring better incentives and more measurable metrics for success beyond simply "cases won." This led him to co-found Prosecutor Impact, a non-profit developing training and curriculum for prosecutors to reframe their role in the criminal justice system