Elevating Trust and Legitimacy for Prosecutors

Project Announcement and Request for Interested Offices
Survey Deadline: December 18, 2020

The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, in partnership with Yale Law School’s Justice Collaboratory and LaGratta Consulting and supported by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, are excited to announce the Elevating Trust and Legitimacy for Prosecutors Project. 

Prior system improvements, including evidence-based decision-making and alternatives to jail, have been successful at improving public safety while broadly reducing the harms that individuals may encounter in the criminal justice system. While these reforms have made progress on these outcomes, a crucial step to achieving a just and trusted legal system is to ensure individuals are treated fairly and with dignity and respect as they move through the criminal justice system. Indeed, communities across the U.S. are demanding change from system actors that better prioritizes community needs and expectations. More than a decade’s workin policing and courts settings has shown how concerted efforts can help change the way criminal justice professionals communicate and engage with system participants and produce increased public trust and voluntary compliance and cooperation. 

The project partners are seeking one prosecutor’s office to engage in a robust co-design process to develop procedural justice strategies within the prosecution field. The goal is to show how prosecutors can better prioritize trust-building and legitimacy with the communities they serve. Meet the team here.

Interested offices are encouraged to complete a brief survey by Friday, December 18, 2020. Offices indicating interest will be contacted in January 2021 regarding next steps.

For the selected pilot agency, participation will require a commitment as follows:

  • Engage in a collaborative assessment, planning, and implementation process with project staff for a minimum of 15 months
  • Assign chief of staff or office equivalent to coordinate office involvement in the project, along with administrative support for scheduling calls and meetings, supplying needed policies and procedures, and identifying relevant stakeholders
  • Help project staff facilitate the collection of feedback from direct users, including past witnesses, defendants, or other community members
  • Host up to three in-person or remote site visits for project staff to meet with key office personnel and observe typical practices (especially those where prosecutors and staff are interacting with members of the public)
  • Upon selection, the partner office will be asked to supply an electronic bulk data extraction of historical case-level data, for all cases processed by the office (including nolle prosequi, dismissals, etc.) for a period of 12-24 months. To protect privacy, the data can be stripped of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) but will require a unique identifier to allow the tracking of cases over time.

Following a collaborative planning process, the pilot site may also be eligible to receive additional implementation support. No monetary or other compensation will be provided to the pilot site. 

David LaBahn, Association of Prosecuting Attorneys
Caroline Sarnoff, Yale Justice Collaboratory

Emily LaGratta, LaGratta Consulting