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Quattrone Center and Montco DA’s Office selected for 2015 “Innovations in Criminal Justice” Award

March 25, 2015

The Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Montgomery County (PA) District Attorney’s Office have been jointly selected by the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA) to receive the 2015 Innovations in Criminal Justice Award in recognition of their collaborative use of root cause analysis to better ensure the fair administration of justice and generally improve the criminal justice system.

The Quattrone Center and District Attorney’s Office forged a partnership and worked closely with each other to successfully employ root cause analysis regarding a Montgomery County criminal case in which an unintentional yet significant investigative error had occurred. The comprehensive review led to implementation of new best practices within the District Attorney’s Office specifically designed to enhance investigative accuracy and prosecutorial integrity.

“Open and honest event reviews allow organizations to optimize their procedures and create a culture of learning from error,” said John Hollway, Executive Director of the Quattrone Center. “Through this root cause analysis and the resulting recommendations, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office improved its relationship with the community and set an example for other prosecutors to follow.”

Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman remarked, “Because prosecutors uniquely serve the public as ministers of justice, we must consistently seek to improve upon our policies and best practices. As such, we partnered with the Quattrone Center to identify and implement professional standards designed to improve accuracy throughout the District Attorney’s Office. Presently, we are better equipped than ever before to fulfill our duties and promote fairness by ensuring investigative integrity and appropriate case outcomes.”

The APA, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the Center for Court Innovation, will host the Innovations in Criminal Justice Summit III in Los Angeles, California on April 20–21, 2015, where eight Innovations in Criminal Justice Award recipients will be highlighted. “I am delighted that we can bring together a multidisciplinary group of criminal justice leaders to discuss initiatives that are examples of a more efficient and effective justice system,” said BJA’s Director Denise O’Donnell. “The program highlights the most innovative criminal justice programs across the nation, while providing summit participants with the requisite knowledge and skills necessary to implement or replicate these practices in their own jurisdictions.”

“Innovations in Criminal Justice was born in 2011 in an effort to support practitioners in tackling the challenges related to shrinking budgets and rising costs,” said APA Vice-President Steven Jansen. “Although the budget decreases have subsided, the summit’s goal remains the same: to feature cutting edge criminal justice programs that can serve as models for practitioners around the country who seek to reduce crime and unnecessary incarceration thereby saving taxpayer’s money.”

Additional information about the root cause analysis can be found at https://www.law.upenn.edu/institutes/quattronecenter/output.php