APA also acts as a global forum for the exchange of ideas, allowing prosecutors to collaborate with all criminal justice partners, conducting timely and effective technical assistance and providing access to technology for the enhancement of the prosecutorial function.
In addition, APA serves as an advocate for prosecutors on emerging issues related to the administration of justice and development of partnerships. APA keeps prosecutors informed about and involved with changes in both law and practice through regular training sessions, comprehensive publications, legislative analysis and amicus activity.
Community Prosecution encourages collaboration between prosecutors, criminal justice partners and the community to create safer neighborhoods. APA in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Center for Court Innovation developed community prosecution principles to provide prosecutors with the requisite skills to strengthen links between the criminal justice system and the community while promoting partnership building and encouraging problem-solving strategies.
High Performance Prosecution
APA High Performance Framework is aimed at uncovering the current state of prosecutorial roles and needs and the strategies that prosecutors are employing to meet the growing expectations of their communities, and also identifies four additional components in which prosecutors should examine beyond trial advocacy to ensure their offices are delivering high performing services.
Crime Victim Assistance
APA recognizes that one of the most important measures of the effectiveness of a criminal justice system may be found in how it responds to crimes against its most vulnerable victims and whether it has the courage to hold those who prey upon special victims accountable. There are many governmental and non-profit organizational resources available to citizens who have or who have family and friends who have been victimized. One such resource is the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime.
Major County Prosecutors Council
APA created the Major County Prosecutors Council, made up of the elected prosecuting attorneys from the 35 most populated jurisdictions in the United States, in 2013, through a grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, in order to further meet the demands that prosecutors from large urban areas face in the administration of justice. The Council meets two times per year for two-day long discussions to identify model protocols and policies unique to prosecutors from large jurisdictions.
Animal Cruelty + Animal Fighting
APA recognizes animal cruelty and fighting not only as precursor crimes to family and interpersonal violent crime, but also violent crime that should be effectively prosecuted. To achieve this end, APA developed a statement of principles regarding the prosecution of animal cruelty crimes and continues to provide a national technical assistance network as well as produce a quarterly newsletter, the Lex Canis. APA has also partnered with various animal welfare and other law enforcement organizations to hold an annual Animal Abuse and Fighting Summit to continue to develop ideas to fight animal cruelty and fighting.
The nation’s prosecutors maintain a special role within the community to do everything within their constitutional authority to decrease the number of gun-related crimes. APA and its member prosecutors, as community leaders, in partnership with criminal justice partners and the public, are committed to curbing gun violence and illegal gun related crime.
APA recognizes the value of accurate and reliable pretrial information provided to prosecutors and magistrates for the enhancement of public safety, safeguarding the judicial process, and aiding prosecutors in their ability to determine appropriate diversions and special court admissions. Pretrial services employing validated risk assessments provide useful data and offer practical information essential to making informed decisions during court proceedings and determining conditions of supervision and sentencing, when appropriate.
APA is committed to enhancing juvenile programs by providing civic education for all participants that builds respect for their rule of law and the legal process, including mentorship and community service opportunities, permit program referrals from prosecutors, police, probation departments and the courts, while not limiting program eligibility to first-time offenders.
The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) developed and currently administers The Smart Prosecution Initiative as part of BJA’s “Smart Suite” of crime fighting programs which include Smart Policing and Smart Supervision. The Smart Prosecution model builds off lessons learned from BJA’s “Smart Suite” of crime-fighting programs. Smart Prosecution is designed to promote effective, data-driven, research-based strategies for prosecution and prosecutor-led justice system reforms. The Smart Prosecution Initiative pairs an operational, results-focused researcher with a prosecutor’s office for the development of data-driven solutions to create effective, efficient, and fair prosecution strategies to improve public safety.
Exploring Innovations with APA
APA is one of the strategic allies supporting the Safety + Justice Challenge through its Exploring Innovations with APA project. APA will provide technical assistance and resources to the 11 core sites as well as the 9 partner sites to assist them with implementing and sustaining their evidence-based programs. The core sites, partner sites, and strategic allies will participate in two Leadership Institutes hosted by APA where the sites and allies will learn from each other and successful peers in the field about how to overcome the challenges of ensuring the safety of the community is met using means that offer justice to the system participants and the community. APA is producing a white paper and several newsletters, which will highlight some of those innovative diversion and alternative sentencing methods, as well as some of the structural and cultural realities of implementing these programs.