The Vera Institute’s Motion for Justice campaign brings together prosecutor’s offices and system-impacted communities to pilot and expand community-centered diversion programs that promote community safety by centering racial equity. Prosecutors are responsible for safety in their communities but research shows that their reliance on incarceration can have devastating safety consequences. Those consequences, due to our country’s history of racial discrimination, are disproportionately borne by communities of color. To effectively pursue safety, prosecutors should explore new models of accountability that target the root causes of crime, and work with marginalized communities to ensure those solutions meet their needs. The Motion for Justice campaign is for prosecutors and communities ready to answer that call to develop better and more equitable paths to safety.

Request for Proposals

Reshaping Prosecution, Motion for Justice:
Pursuing better paths to public safety

View the RFP and Apply

In 2021, Vera engaged with nine district attorney’s offices and community-based organizations that partnered to implement diversion programs designed to reach marginalized communities. These bold models had three common criteria: they did not exclude people based on criminal history, impose fines and fees, or require a guilty plea. With that equitable framework in place, each site focused on an issue based on the unique needs of their community, including: gun diversion, substance use disorder, houselessness, and restorative justice. Our programs served a range of ages, including children and emerging adults, and diverted hundreds of individuals away from the criminal legal system, providing much-needed services that strengthened communities.

District attorneys’ offices selected to join the campaign partner with a local community-based organization to provide services for participants in the community rather than in carceral settings. The community-based organization receives funding to build capacity and support participants who will utilize their services. This model ensures that communities are consistently engaged and recognizes that restoration, healing, service provision, and relationship-building are more effective in the community, not behind bars. In doing so, the programs help improve long-term public safety and reduce crime and have proven cost-efficient.

The deadline to apply to the Motion for Justice campaign 2023-24 cohort is May 31st, 2023. For questions, please contact Meghan Nayak, Program Manager,

Learn more about how prosecutors can center racial equity in every aspect of their role.