Change from Within: Reimagining the 21st-Century Prosecutor
In the wake of the release of Change from Within: Reimagining the 21st-Century Prosecutor, FJP hosted a series of panels with Executive Director Miriam Krinsky and some of the innovative reform-minded prosecutors profiled in the book, who discussed their journeys to elected office and how the power of the prosecutor’s office can be used to reform the criminal legal system and create safer, healthier communities. At NYU Law, Professor Rachel Barkow moderated a discussion with Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and Chittenden County, VT State’s Attorney Sarah George. At Harvard Law, Sarah George and Eric Gonzalez joined Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and Nueces County, TX District Attorney Mark Gonzalez in a conversation led by Professor Alex Whiting.
“The most powerful thing that elected prosecutors can do is not charge, not depend on the criminal legal system to fix societal issues.”
– Chittenden County, VT State’s Attorney Sarah George
“We’re training our lawyers to have different conversations about accountability that don’t look like jail sentences.”
– Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez
Durham DA Satana Deberry Testifies on Reimagining Public Safety in the COVID-19 Era
On March 8, 2022, Durham County, NC District Attorney Satana Deberry testified to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security at a hearing on Reimagining Public Safety in the COVID-19 Era. As DA Deberry attests, evidence-based criminal justice reforms promote public safety and help address the root causes of crime, and there is no evidence that reforms led to increases in some types of crimes during the pandemic.
“We have to stop pretending reform is the real threat to public safety and recognize how over-reliance on prosecution and incarceration may make us less safe…. We do not need to choose between reform and public safety. Those two are inherently linked.”
– Durham County, NC District Attorney Satana Deberry
Uplifting the “New Normal” in Prosecution to Drive Even Greater Change
Four years ago, many thought of reform-minded elected prosecutors as a flash in the pan. Yet, what started out as a handful of change agents has grown into a movement that has become the new normal in prosecution. Every year, more visionary leaders are running and winning on bold agendas that are grounded in empathy and evidence. These elected prosecutors, and others like them, are pushing for real reform – from policies that divert more people from the system, to decriminalizing substance use disorder and sex work, to bringing an end to the death penalty. And FJP has been there every step of the way to support them in this work. In this video, elected prosecutors Marilyn Mosby, Chesa Boudin, and Parisa Dehghani-Tafti share their experience with being part of a network of leaders, and the impact these connections have had on them as they seek to change paradigms. From identifying key experts, to sharing best practices, to facilitating national sign-on statements and amicus briefs, FJP stands with these tireless leaders and provides a much-needed support system so they can focus on what matters most: driving bold and lasting changes that create healthier, safer communities.
Elected Prosecutors Share Their Criminal Justice Resolutions for 2021
After a year that saw an outpouring of support in the streets and at the ballot box for bringing change to our criminal legal system, we enter the new year more determined than ever to usher in a new vision for justice grounded in fairness and compassion. This FJP video features 16 elected 21st Century Prosecutors sharing the resolutions they’re making for 2021, from ending the death penalty, to implementing sentence review processes, to continuing the fight for racial justice and much more.
“2020 has been an extraordinary year. We saw the most massive movement in favor of criminal justice reform. Now, it’s our obligation to bring real objective results in ‘21.”
– District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine
A New Tool to Measure Success in Prosecutors’ Offices
FJP, in partnership with criminologists from Florida International University and Loyola University at Chicago and with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety & Justice Challenge, announced the launch of Prosecutorial Performance Indicators (PPIs). The PPIs are 55 new measures of performance that challenge and expand traditional measures of success in the field of prosecution. Historically, prosecutorial performance has been measured by metrics such as number of cases filed, conviction rates, and sentence length, thereby encouraging tough-on-crime policies and feeding mass incarceration. Amid widespread protests and calls for reimagining public safety, the PPIs provide a timely shift toward priorities of safety, community well-being, justice and fairness. In this video, reform-minded elected prosecutors who have been involved in this initiative from its inception three years ago – John Chisholm, Melissa Nelson, and Andrew Warren – discuss a new vision for prosecution and the importance of data in ensuring success. To learn more, read the release and visit the PPI website.
Confronting Our Nation’s Past to Build Racial Justice
We cannot build the future we deserve without confronting the past we’ve tried to forget. In this video created in partnership with the Campaign for Fair Sentencing of Youth, FJP documents the powerful lessons learned from our trip to the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum and Memorial for Peace and Justice, the historic Selma bridge, and other civil rights sites in Alabama. Together with members of the Incarcerated Children’s Advocacy Network, we explored the role of prosecutors in shrinking the justice system and the work that must be done to confront systemic racism to build healthier, stronger communities.
#JusticeForGeorgeFloyd: DAs For Criminal Justice and Policing Reform
Sparked by the murder of George Floyd, people have taken to the streets to loudly speak the names of those who have died at the hands of police violence and demand that the systemic racism embedded into policing and our criminal justice system – that has caused far too many deaths and destroyed communities for generations – be reckoned with. Now elected prosecutors across the country are joining them in saying: ENOUGH. In this video, 21st Century Prosecutors Aramis Ayala, Chesa Boudin, Scott Colom, Kim Gardner, Sarah George, Brian Middleton, Rachael Rollins and Dan Satterberg discuss this critical moment and the role that prosecutors must play to promote meaningful change in our justice system going forward.
Lessons Learned from Germany on Decarceration
The United States is an international outlier with the highest incarceration rate in the world. And COVID-19 is rapidly spreading through our crowded jails and prisons – threatening to infect thousands both behind bars and in the community. Mass incarceration and the current pandemic have intersected to create a deadly crisis, underscoring the need to reexamine past punitive approaches and chart a new path forward. In this FJP video, Attorney General Karl Racine, District Attorneys Mark Gonzalez and Rachael Rollins, and State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby discuss what they learned from Germany, where incarceration is the last resort and upholding human dignity is a core value of the justice system.
Ministers of Justice: Prosecutors in the 21st Century
Elected prosecutors wield immense power and have a duty to pursue justice at all times – not just prospectively but also in remedying past unjust sentences and convictions. In this FJP video, Attorney General TJ Donovan (Vermont); Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Morales; District Attorneys Eric Gonzalez and Larry Krasner; and State’s Attorneys Sarah George and Marilyn Mosby share their perspectives on the role prosecutors must play in shrinking the footprint of our justice system and creating meaningful second chances for people.
Prosecutors: A Vehicle for Social Change
Elected prosecutors Kim Gardner (St. Louis City, MO), Beth McCann (Denver, CO) and Attorney General Karl Racine (District of Columbia) share their perspectives on the power of prosecutors and their ability to transform the justice system.
Compassionate Release: Not a Right or Left Issue
Elected prosecutors Sarah George, Eric Gonzalez, Larry Krasner, and Stephanie Morales speak out on why they support compassionate release as a way to address over-incarceration and ensure that justice is being served. They join other criminal justice system stakeholders and experts in responding to a new report by Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) outlining the pervasive underuse of compassionate release as a way to reunite people in prison who are elderly or terminally ill—and who post no public safety risk—with their loved ones.
Candid Insights from State’s Attorney Kim Foxx
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx speaks at the 2018 MAKERS Conference about criminal justice issues and the challenges facing our justice system, as well as her own personal background and journey to this work.
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and Incoming Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner Address NYU Law Students
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, Philadelphia District Attorney-elect Larry Krasner, and Fair and Just Prosecution’s Miriam Krinsky spoke with students at New York University Law School about their visions for a criminal justice system that is grounded in fairness, equity, and compassion. The panelists discussed their approaches to making change and encouraged students looking to advance social justice to consider becoming prosecutors.
Prosecutive Leaders Speak with Stanford Law Students
Fair and Just Prosecution partnered with the Stanford Criminal Justice Center to host a panel discussion on “Reimagining the 21st Century Prosecutor.” This engaging discussion enabled elected prosecutors to inspire and challenge laws students to think differently about justice strategies aimed at promoting fair and equitable practices and safer and healthier communities. The panel featured Diana Becton, Sherry Boston, Mark Gonzalez, Tori Verber-Salazar, and FJP’s Miriam Krinsky, and was moderated by Stanford Law Professor David Sklansky.
A New Vision for the 21st Century Prosecutor: Reflections of Newly Elected Prosecutive Leaders
Elected prosecutive leaders speak at Harvard Law School with the next generation of lawyers about new paradigms in prosecution and the importance of prosecutors in bringing about systemic change. The panel, co-hosted by Fair and Just Prosecution and Harvard’s Criminal Justice Policy Program, featured Tori Verber-Salazar, Beth McCann, Eric Gonzalez, Christian Gossett, Andrew Warren, Mark Dupree, and Melissa Nelson.
“There is a tremendous opportunity for people … to change the face of prosecution…. It’s about accountability, but it should not be simply about punishment.”
– Brooklyn (NY) District Attorney Eric Gonzalez
Criminal Justice, Community Justice
King County (Seattle, WA) Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg discusses the history of mass incarceration and why community programs can be more powerful than a jail cell.
Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s statement on officer’s acquittal
St. Louis (MO) Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner calls for building community trust and the need for “comprehensive and objective investigations” of officer-involved shootings
“There is nothing that will stop me from providing every person with a fair and impartial process — The resistors to change will not stop me, the critics will not stop me, and most certainly this verdict will not stop me.”
– St. Louis (MO) Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner
Kim Foxx sworn in as Cook County State’s Attorney, December 1, 2016:
Excerpt from Cook County (Chicago, IL) State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s swearing in speech.
Dan Satterberg’s TEDx Talk
King County (Seattle, WA) Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg makes the case for considering the collateral consequences of incarceration and finding alternative pathways for individuals struggling with poverty, addiction and mental illness.