Vera, John Jay Start Project on Prosecutors, Race

The Vera Institute of Justice’s Reshaping Prosecution program and John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s Institute for Innovative Prosecution (IIP) have started “Dignity, Racial Justice and Prosecution,” which they call “a joint initiative to create a framework that will guide prosecutors in racial equity-centered work.” Beginning Wednesday with a session in Montgomery, Al., Vera and IIP will join with 25  justice reform advocates to “to radically reimagine the role of the prosecutor.” The group says it will confront ways in which traditional prosecution dehumanizes people, particularly minorities.

Jamila Hodge, director of Vera’s Reshaping Prosecution Program, said that, “By addressing the impact prosecutors have had on the racial disparities that plague our prisons and jails, we can create a path forward that dramatically reimagines their role within the legal system.” Lucy Lang of IIP said the project should “alleviate the needless suffering of communities and fundamentally change the criminal legal system.” Over six months, Vera and IIP will develop multi-media materials that prosecutors can integrate into their training curricula and that communities can use to learn about “what they deserve from their local prosecutor.” The group will reconvene in December in New York to finalize the materials so that they can be distributed widely next year.

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