Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $359,926)
The purpose of the Innovative Prosecution Solutions Program is to provide state, local, and tribal prosecutors with information, resources, and training and technical assistance (TTA) to develop effective strategies and programs to address violent crime and prosecute individuals responsible for homicides caused by illegal opioids. Prosecutors are leaders within the criminal justice system who possess an enormous responsibility within the criminal justice system. Accordingly, they are well positioned to bring the police, the community, and local agencies together to combat violent crime in their jurisdictions.
The Innovative Prosecution Solutions Program encourages prosecutors to use data in the development of their violent crime strategies and programs. As such, it builds upon analysis-driven, promising practices and evidence-based prosecution by encouraging state, local, and tribal prosecutorial agencies to develop effective, economical, and innovative responses to crime within their jurisdictions. Applicants will identify a problem to be addressed and may enlist a research partner to help evaluate the effectiveness of their Innovative Prosecution Solutions.
The East Baton Rouge (EBR) Innovative Prosecution Solutions (IPS) Project will address the problem of opioid related overdose deaths and related violent crime through the development of an inter-agency action plan to significantly reduce the barriers to effective investigation and prosecution. The IPS Planning Team, co-led by the US Attorney Project Safe Neighborhood designee, will include representatives from each law enforcement agency, the coroners office, and the research team. The Team will determine how to cooperatively: (1) increase law enforcement knowledge base through Social Network Analysis of the opioid drug trade, including hotspot mapping, and an expanded monthly dashboard reporting system with drug specific medical information from the coroner and EMS, and arrest statistics from law enforcement; (2) Analyze policies and procedures, or the lack of, that hinder investigation, legal charges, and court related effectiveness; (3) Work with the community to increase trust and cooperation, in addition to increasing awareness of opioid addiction; and (4) Augment court effectiveness through prosecutor training and the integration of forensic science and behavioral expertise into the prosecution plan.
The District Attorney will hire a coordinator to administer the project through the Crime Strategies Unit, with an extensive partnership with the academic research team. The District Attorney will expand quarterly homicide reviews and group audits to include a focus on the drug dealing network, incorporating a focused deterrence approach similar to the one used in dealing with violent group and gang members. These efforts are aimed at the expanded use of data driven methods and evidence based interventions specifically focused on interrupting the higher level opioid drug market and violent crime related to drug trafficking.
The research partner will implement an evaluation of the primary activities and outcomes associated with enhanced law enforcement data use. Project performance will be examined using a longitudinal, repeated-measures design that includes collecting program-specific data at baseline and throughout implementation to measure changes over time. Data sources for the above include a Partner Collaboration Scale, Innovative Prosecution Impact (IPI) Survey, focus groups, interviews, sign-in sheets, and agency records. Data will be collected at variable intervals depending on analytic need.