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The nation’s conversation surrounding changes in prosecution is focused on a handful of urban, well-resourced prosecutors’ offices.
But there are more than 2,300 offices across the United States, and few national organizations are supporting prosecutors in smaller communities.
Now, with the support of Microsoft’s Criminal Justice Reform Initiative, the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (IIP), a national prosecution organization based in New York City, is launching its Beyond Big Cities Initiative, a multi-year program aimed at supporting medium and small-sized offices.
As the Elected County Attorney of Coconino County, Arizona, Bill Ring is dedicated to bringing innovative and effective practices to his community to maintain public safety and promote community trust.
“We represent the community’s interest in justice and fairness. The ability to seek justice requires a continuing investment of time and resources in innovation. I am pleased to be part of a program that has the support of Microsoft and the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution at John Jay College of Criminal Justice,” said Mr. Ring.
The Beyond Big Cities Initiative brings together more than fifteen elected prosecutors and various criminal justice stakeholders from all over the country for open and honest conversations. The group will explore how prosecutors can overcome their unique challenges, rely less on incarceration, and reduce racial disparities. The goal is to create a series of best-practices guides that will provide smaller offices with guidance on how to implement change in their communities.
“Since its founding in 2015, the IIP has worked extensively with elected prosecutors in large jurisdictions to reimagine their role as their communities’ chief law enforcement officers,” said IIP’s Deputy Director Alissa Marque Heydari. “We at the IIP believe the next step is to partner with prosecutors in smaller jurisdictions. It is imperative that we include and uplift prosecutors in communities that may lack the resources of big city offices but are just as committed to justice and equity.”
Bill Ring welcomes the national group’s engagement in his community: “The IIP program will equip us with data and innovative approaches that can accelerate our justice delivery models. My interest is that they be right-sized for our community.”
To learn more about the initiative and its members, please visit www.prosecution.org/beyond-big-cities