Do prosecutors enjoy convicting people, even if there’s a question of guilt?

As a general rule, no, I don’t think so.

There will always be some sick, twisted people in every profession, but it has not been my experience that the majority of prosecutors enjoy seeing people go to jail, even if they have doubts as to the defendants’ guilt.

That stated, I can tell you from personal experience that there are prosecutors who, while they may not enjoy seeing people of questionable guilt convicted, don’t particularly care whether innocent people are convicted. I believe that such prosecutors behave and act this way either

  • because some prosecutors have ambitions to advance in the office or to become judges or politicians, and high conviction rates lead to such advancement; or
  • as a defense mechanism against letting the pressures and the stakes of the job destroy them emotionally and psychologically. Prosecutors are confronted with the worst of humanity on a daily basis, so it’s easy for people in such a job to see their professional detachment deteriorate as some prosecutors become jaded, numb, and uncaring. That does not make prosecutorial indifference and apathy acceptable, but it is understandable.

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