The Boston Globe recently published a letter from Michael O’Keefe, the district attorney for the Cape and Islands, criticizing Yvonne Abraham’s column about the current status of the 2012 drug lab scandal wrought by the actions of rogue chemist Annie Dookhan. O’Keefe properly identified “the lack of oversight of the state Department of Public Health under Governor Patrick” as a key factor in the mess. But O’Keefe was wrong in disputing Abraham’s assignment of ultimate responsibility to our Commonwealth’s prosecutors. Abraham got it right.

Prosecutors play a unique role in our legal system. They are not merely zealous advocates for the government but rather have a dual obligation: to advance the state’s position in criminal cases and simultaneously serve as “ministers of justice” concerned with fairness to all. As a result, they bear special responsibilities to rectify miscarriages of justice.

Although the Department of Public Health signed Annie Dookhan’s paychecks, the Supreme Judicial Court has concluded she was essentially a member of the prosecution team. Her emails with prosecutors revealed she wanted to help get defendants “off the streets,” and her misconduct benefited the team. So, just as prosecutors in general must correct convictions tainted by police misconduct—despite the fact that police officers do not work for the DAs—they must correct convictions tainted by Dookhan’s missteps.

But, more than three years into this scandal, this cleanup has not happened. Thousands of wrongfully convicted people have not even received a letter, let alone justice. By failing to notify the victims of Dookhan’s misconduct, Massachusetts district attorneys run the risk of neglecting their duty to disclose exculpatory information and, more abstractly, to fulfill the minister-of-justice ideal.

As is often said, with power comes responsibility. Our prosecutors possess an astonishing amount of power. They choose who to charge with crimes; they select which crimes to charge them with; and then they decide whether to offer plea bargains. Prosecutors were involved in procuring each and every conviction touched by the Dookhan scandal. To resolve this massive problem, we need full cooperation from our law enforcement leaders, not attempts to shift blame or shirk responsibility.

Daniel S. Medwed is a professor of law at Northeastern University School of Law and a legal analyst a WGBH News.