As the gatekeepers of the justice system, prosecutors wield a tremendous amount of power and are uniquely situated to stem the tide of mass incarceration and to ensure justice and fairness. While a wave of reform-minded district attorneys across the country are bringing increased awareness on both the need and potential for reform, true progress cannot be made until prosecutors own their role in the egregious racial disparities in the justice system, and center the pursuit of racial equity and human dignity in their work. To help them do so, Vera’s Reshaping Prosecution program and John Jay College’s Institute for Innovative Prosecution (IIP) have joined forces to launch Dignity, Racial Justice, and Prosecution—a joint initiative to create a framework that will guide prosecutors in racial equity-centered work. Together, the group will confront the ways that traditional prosecution dehumanizes people—particularly people of color—and forge a vision and an actionable plan for prosecutors to uphold human dignity and pursue racial justice.

Project Objectives

  • Create an action plan for prosecutors across the nation to center racial equity and human dignity within their work

  • Radically reimagine the role of the prosecutor both within the community and within the criminal justice system

  • Empower communities to become educated on what they deserve from their local prosecutors and on how to demand change