New PCE Report: Investigating Opioid Overdose Deaths

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To combat the opioid crisis, prosecutors and their partners must adopt multi-disciplinary approaches that provide solutions on a case-by-case basis. This report provides guidance for prosecutors on investigative steps and decision making, various examples of how prosecutor offices of all sizes have addressed these complex issues, and a self-survey to evaluate an office’s capacity to handle opioid-related challenges.

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Using Surveys to Inform Prosecutor Training Needs (2021)

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Summit County District Attorney’s Office (Akron, OH) 

Population: 541,013 | Number of Full-Time Prosecutors: 63 | Contact Information

As a new office strategy, grand jurors and trial jurors are asked to survey the performance of prosecutors and other justice partners to identify training needs and promote better case preparation. The use of surveys has also been expanded to address staff concerns about working conditions, such as office safety protocols in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.  

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Using Surveys to Inform Prosecutor Training Needs and Increase Morale (2021)

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Monroe County District Attorney’s Office (Rochester, NY)

Population: 741,770 | Number of Full-Time Prosecutors: 85 | Contact Information

The Monroe County District Attorney’s Office is asking jurors to survey the grand jury process and the performance of prosecutors and other justice partners during their service. While juror concerns are used to inform prosecutor training needs, positive comments are also shared with the office as part of a popular employee recognition program. This recognition is highly desired by prosecutors.

Amending Case Review Policies to Reduce Disparate Impact of Non-Safety Traffic Stops (2021)

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Ingham County District Attorney’s Office (Lansing, MI)

Population: 292,406 | Number of Full-Time Prosecutors: 34 | Contact Information

In the Ingham County District Attorney’s Office, prosecutors are no longer filing cases that result from non-safety traffic stops, even where contraband may be discovered. The rationale behind this innovation is to reduce the disparate impact that such stops have on communities of color. Nationwide, drivers of color are disproportionately stopped and searched at a higher rate than similarly situated white drivers, even though searches of white drivers were more likely to result in the recovery of illegal contraband.

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Integrity Unit Enlists Citizen Volunteers to Review Convictions (2021)

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Davis County District Attorney’s Office (Farmington, Utah)

Population: 355,481 | Number of Full-Time Prosecutors: 19 | Contact Information

The Davis County District Attorney’s Office has engaged community volunteers to establish the Conviction Integrity Unit which runs independently of the office to review convictions from the jurisdiction. The panel consists of nine community members including a judge, attorneys, and others who either had a background in criminal justice or showed an interest in criminal justice.. In 2021, the panel included a policy maker from a criminal justice reform group, the chief diversity officer of a local university, and a defense attorney.

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Restorative Justice Program for Youthful Offenders with Monitoring (2016)  

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Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia (Washington, DC

Population: 689,545 | Number of Full-Time Prosecutors: 280 | Contact Information

Through a grant from Innovative Prosecution Solutions, the District of Columbia’s Office of the Attorney General (DCOAG) has created and implemented a restorative justice (RJ) program aimed at reducing the risk of reoffending among individuals between the ages of 12 and 24 who have committed low-level offenses (e.g., unlawful entry, theft). Upon the victim’s consent, DCOAG facilitates a mediation process between the victim, the offender, and their families.

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