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Tuesday, October 03, 2017

NIJ Sentinel Event Review Opportunities

For law professors interested in criminal justice systems change, the National Institute of Justice just funded and partnered with the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice to support community-based Sentinel Even Review projects in up to 25 local jurisdictions.  The formal announcement is here, https://nij.gov/topics/justice-system/Pages/sentinel-events-technical-assistance-provider.aspx.

Sentinel Event Reviews involve a multi-stakeholder process to identify the systemic causes for “bad” criminal justice outcomes.  As described in the announcement:

“When bad things happen in criminal justice systems, they are rarely the result of a single actor, action, or decision, and are often indicative of a system       weakness. However, most jurisdictions review errors solely through a lens of blame, looking for individual practitioners to punish. This blame-oriented        approach ignores the multiple system causes that contributed to the bad outcome and remain in place to contribute to another, similar event in the future.

NIJ believes that local jurisdictions should have the opportunity to learn from mistakes and “near miss” events, and prevent the recurrence of errors and bad        outcomes. To that end, NIJ’s Sentinel Events Initiative (SEI) is exploring the value of sentinel event reviews in which all individuals whose actions or        inactions may have contributed to an event are empowered to develop solutions to prevent future bad outcomes. Through these all-stakeholder, non-          blaming, forward-looking reviews, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, forensic scientists, communities, persons harmed, and others come together        to conduct a review of a bad outcome and develop recommendations for improving criminal justice.”  

For law professors or law schools engaged in criminal justice systems change, this new NIJ focus/funding might provide an interesting opportunity to examine local justice problems.

In addition, NIJ launched a bibliography of close to 1,000 journal articles, news stories, and other resources relevant to the Sentinel Events Initiative. For scholars, this could be a very valuable resource.  Most of the citations include abstracts and links to complete publications and can be found here. https://nij.gov/topics/justice-system/pages/sentinel-events-bibliography.aspx.  For more information contact James Doyle @ 1jamesdoyle[at]gmail.com or join the sentinel events listserv at criminal-justice-sentinel-events[at]googlegroups.com.

Posted by Andrew Guthrie Ferguson on October 3, 2017 at 09:31 PM | Permalink

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