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Prosecutorial Reform Index (PRI)

The Prosecutorial Reform Index (PRI) is one in a series of assessment tools developed by experts in technical legal assistance and criminal law reform at the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI). It provides an empirical basis for examining the status and role of prosecutors and the environment in which they work in transitioning states throughout the globe.

In developing the PRI, the ABA ROLI relied on comparative legal traditions and international standards established by the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and other organizations, such as the International Association of Prosecutors, pertaining to the qualifications, selection, and training of prosecutors, professional freedoms and guarantees, prosecutorial functions, accountability and transparency of prosecutors, interaction with other actors in the criminal justice system, and finances and resources for prosecutors.

Drawing on these standards, the ABA ROLI compiled a series of 28 statements setting forth factors that facilitate an accountable, ethical, and effective prosecutorial function. Each of these factors is evaluated to determine the extent to which they correlate with local conditions and practices. This process involves a rigorous analysis of all laws, normative acts, and sources of authority that regulate the prosecutorial function and a key informant interview process that includes focus groups and structured interviews with prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys, investigators, government officials, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The results of the PRI assessment inquiry are collected and presented in a standardized format that provides an in-depth discussion and analysis of the legal, institutional, and other issues that relate to each individual factor. Cataloguing the data in this way permits users of the PRI to compare and contrast the performance of different countries in specific areas and—as PRIs are updated within a given country—over time.

The PRI, like the ABA ROLI's other assessment tools, is a valuable resource for promoting the rule of law throughout the world. In addition to guiding the ABA ROLI's own efforts to support the development of the prosecutorial function, the PRI serves to inform the work of other technical legal assistance providers, criminal law reform and development specialists, and the donor community. The PRI also empowers prosecutors to pursue needed reforms and assists NGOs in supporting prosecutorial reform and engaging in grassroots advocacy efforts.