The following announcement was provided by John Jay College of Criminal Justice via the National Network for Safe Communities on October 19, 2015.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., and President Jeremy Travis of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice today announced the formation of a partnership to launch the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution (IIP), a groundbreaking new project designed to support the development of the next generation of ideas and thought leaders in the field of prosecution. The Institute will bring together prosecutors, academics, law enforcement officials, and other leaders to examine and develop practical solutions to the critical issues facing the criminal justice system in the 21st century, including how to ensure public safety while at the same time improving fairness in the system.
“Our investment in IIP represents our bid to ensure that this pivotal moment for criminal justice reform does not pass us by,” said District Attorney Vance. “As a brick-and-mortar think tank housed within the nation’s preeminent criminal justice college, IIP is uniquely positioned to drive innovation and analysis of the ‘big issues’ confronting prosecutors in the years and decades to come. IIP will advance comprehensive policy solutions reflecting the very best in justice innovation – policies which increase safety and fairness at the same time.”
“As the premier elected officials responsible for criminal justice policy in most American jurisdictions, prosecutors have a critical role to play in this era when the public is asking fundamental questions about issues of fairness and effectiveness of the justice system,” notes President Jeremy Travis. “The IIP will serve as a think tank to develop new responses to the current challenges facing our justice system.”
Affiliated with John Jay’s National Network for Safe Communities (NNSC), the IIP will be led by an Executive Director, and will develop program offerings designed to drive policy and procedural changes in the American justice system. The Institute’s wide range of programs will include executive-level forums, professional development, and research opportunities to help enhance prosecutorial strategies, including a workshop for new prosecutors and an executive session on the emerging role of the prosecutor. Through these programs, the IIP will serve as a national laboratory to reimagine the role and function of prosecutors in order to address the evolving nature of criminal justice issues and advance recommendations for practice and training.
Among the initial topics that the Institute will examine include:
How prosecutors can address issues of racial disparities and implicit bias in the criminal justice system;
Data-driven prosecution and investment in preventive crime fighting strategies;
Pre-trial diversion and release, including a risk assessment and evidence-based approach to achieving better and fairer outcomes for those who enter the criminal justice system;
Planning for release and re-entry, including bringing prosecutors, judges, and corrections officials together to design and invest in education and skill development for incarcerated individuals in order to maximize success post-release;
Best-practice models for police-involved fatal encounters with civilians; and
How prosecutors can best address the impact of gun violence.