The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and The Yale Justice Collaboratory Select Saint Paul and Columbus City Attorney’s Offices to Continue Trust and Legitimacy Project

WASHINGTON, D.C. and New Haven, Conn. – November 17, 2021– The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, in partnership with Yale Law School’s Justice Collaboratory and LaGratta Consulting, announced today that they have selected the Saint Paul City Attorney’s Office and the Columbus City Attorney’s Office as additional sites to continue their Elevating Trust and Legitimacy for Prosecutors Project.

The 24-month project will assess how city prosecutors interact with the surrounding community, which includes witnesses, victims, and the accused, and implement evidence-based practices to increase public trust.  The goal is to develop a model for prosecutors’ offices across the country built on the premise that these offices belong to the community, rather than to any elected official or government employee.

The St. Paul and Columbus City Attorney’s offices were chosen from more than two-dozen applications from prosecutors’ offices nationwide for the program. The applicants included county-level offices, city prosecutors, and statewide attorneys general offices and ranged from small, medium, to large organizations.

“We look forward to expanding the initiative to two additional sites,” said David LaBahn, president and CEO, The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys. “Working with city prosecutors who focus on misdemeanor cases is an excellent opportunity to make public trust in prosecutors a reality at the local level.”

The project will utilize technical guidance from The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, Yale Law School’s Justice Collaboratory and LaGratta Consulting. Support for the project will come from The Joyce Foundation, Arnold Ventures, and others.

“The Columbus City Attorney’s Office is constantly working to learn and improve the ways we protect our community—by increasing public safety while also maintaining our drive to reform criminal justice into a more equitable, solutions-based system. We are honored to be selected for this program, which offers great expertise and scientific research to help us build more trust with the community as we seek to make Columbus safer and stronger for all of our residents,” said Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein.

St. Paul City Attorney Lyndsey Olson added, “Creating a criminal justice system that is equitable and compassionate is central to the mission of the Saint Paul City Attorney’s Office.  In order to truly transform the criminal legal system into one that achieves that goal and promotes procedural fairness, we must eliminate racial and economic disparities and earn the trust and respect of the community.   We are excited to be selected for this project, and we welcome the opportunity to be part of the solution.  The national expertise and research offered by the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA) and the Justice Collaboratory at Yale Law School will strengthen our ability to do this essential work and to create the criminal legal system the people of Saint Paul deserve.”

The project is based on the theory of procedural justice, an evidence-based practice that focuses on the way police and other legal authorities interact with the public and how people’s perception of those interactions shapes their views of the police and the criminal legal system.

“Scientifically-proven approaches like procedural justice help build stronger and safer communities by focusing on how law enforcement interacts with the public,” said Caroline Sarnoff, executive director, Yale Justice Collaboratory. “As we enact this program in Saint Paul and Columbus, we will collect more data and insights that we can share with other districts across the country.”

More information and updates on the program can be found here.