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Conviction Review/Integrity Units Resource Center

This website has been created through work funded by the Bureau of Justice Administration’s Upholding the Rule of Law grant (grant 2018-FA-BX-K003). The Quattrone Center serves as a National Technical and Training Assistance provider to grantees under that program.

The Quattrone Center works with conviction review units around the country to help them improve their programs and solve problems. This Resource Center aggregates and organizes resources, best practices, and materials that CIUs and CRUs across the country have found valuable. They build upon the Center’s 2016 report, Conviction Review Units: A National Perspective. We hope they provide support and guidance to newly formed and existing prosecutor units working on innocence investigations and litigation.

“It should be the bedrock that you’re trying to do the right thing, the just thing, and not necessarily doing the thing that just favors your side. We’re not doing this just to correct past mistakes. We’re doing this to try to get something out that can be a road map [explaining], here is where we did something wrong, and correct it so that there are not wrongful convictions in the future.”  —- Conviction Integrity Unit Lead Prosecutor

The Quattrone Center Toolkit for Prosecutors

These are resources developed by Center staff and subject matter experts around the country to help prosecutors create or revamp their conviction review units. Feel free to use these templates and tools to fit your needs. If you have questions or suggestions to improve these tools, please let us know.

discussion tool Forming a conviction review unit involves numerous high-level decisions from what types of cases will the unit review to when will vacatur be recommended. Our discussion tool is to help Electeds and new unit directors make those decisions together before starting their work

Conflict of interest It’s important to develop a conflict of interest statement for your unit. Utilize our COI tool to better understand potential policies and protocols that could be implemented in your office. 

cooperation agreements We have put together guidelines and a template for creating Cooperation Agreements between conviction review/integrity units and defense counsel. These agreements are essential to safely sharing investigative information with defense counsel and creating a respectful working relationship to conduct a joint investigation while protecting confidential information.

sample information policy

This sample questionnaire/petition was developed with lawyers, linguists, sociologists, and exonerees to make an application as easy as possible for applicants who are likely incarcerated to complete and return. This tool also includes information on working with pro se applicants to help ensure those without representation appreciate the issues involved in working with prosecutors.

 

Resources for Working with Victims and Survivors from Healing Justice

guiding principles Healing Justice has created a Practitioners Checklist for victim service providers and allied professionals to ensure support and guidance for victim-centered and trauma-informed notification, as well as Eight Guiding Principles for providing notification and support to crime victims during post-conviction investigations.  sample information policy Healing Justice has also created sample Information Packets for Crime Victims and an Agency Policy for your unit to adopt and distribute. 

Healing Justice is a national nonprofit organization that provides support and services to crime victims and survivors in post-conviction cases. They provide training and technical assistance to prosecution agencies, victim advocates, and other criminal justice professionals. To learn more about their organization, see more resources available for practitioners, or to request training or technical assistance, visit them at their website here.

Other Useful Resources

 

BJA Monthly Webinar Recordings 

Every month, the Center hosts subject matter experts from around the world on topics related to post-conviction innocence investigation and litigation. The webinars open to anyone doing post-conviction work. If you are interested in participating in future webinars, please email Marissa at mblu@law.upenn.edu.

View full youtube playlist from the BJA Webinar series

Additional Resources 

Newsletter We send out a weekly newsletter of events, national news, and resources related to Conviction Integrity/Review Units from across the country. if you’re interested in receiving our weekly newsletter of updates from CIUs/CRUs across the country, you can sign-up here. Webinar Sign up to get notices for our monthly webinar series for those engaged in post-conviction innocence work. Webinars are scheduled for the second Wednesday from 2 - 3:15 PM EST each month. Email us to be added to the notices. All are welcome.

Contact us

We are happy to work with you to develop or review your internal policies and protocols, work through troubling issues, and connect you to subject matter experts on many issues. Feel free to reach out any time:

Email mbluestine@law.upenn.edu