Reform in Action — Prosecutors Building a New Vision for the 21st Century
In December, FJP brought together elected prosecutors from across the country, including a number of new DAs who were elected just last month. For two days, these bold and visionary leaders met in Durham, North Carolina to share the progress they have made over the past year and reflect on the work that remains as they implement a new 21st Century vision for the justice system.
In community with other reformers, these elected prosecutors from jurisdictions that span the nation explored new approaches to meeting the challenges they face and devised strategies for advancing bold change in a host of critical areas — from ensuring racial equity in jury selection, to protecting the rights of immigrants in their community, to addressing and ameliorating the collateral consequences that prevent people from rebuilding their lives after incarceration. Grappling with a host of timely and important topics, these criminal justice leaders heard from experts on the death penalty, immigration, jury selection, ethics, reentry and data analytics. They shared best practices implemented in their offices and discussed how they are making progress for their communities in promoting a fair, accountable and effective justice system.
“There is no [elected] job worth keeping if we aren’t going to be bold.”
-Karl Racine, District of Columbia Attorney General
This convening culminates a remarkable year in which we have:
- Considered the next iteration of conviction integrity that will ensure the integrity of the justice system;
- Traveled to Portugal and Germany to learn from international experts about decriminalization, harm reduction and how to lower our incarceration rates;
- Discussed how to address and revisit past decades-long excessive sentences;
- Walked in the footsteps of civil rights leaders and confronted the legacy of racial inequity and discrimination in our justice system; and
- Collaborated with individuals directly impacted by the justice system as we seek to promote reforms that make communities healthier and safer.
We’d like to extend thanks to the many partners and thought leaders who joined us last week and throughout the year. And we would also, of course, like to extend our deep appreciation to the fierce new generation of leaders who are changing the face of prosecution and bringing fresh thinking to bear on how we improve a system that has tolerated excessively punitive responses for far too long. Together they are creating a new normal in prosecution. We look forward to working with them in the year to come as they continue to build the fair and just future all communities need and deserve.