After years of scientific research, practitioner outreach, and pilot efforts, the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National Institute of Justice have partnered on a $1.6 million Sentinel Events Initiative (SEI) National Demonstration Collaboration grant, administered by the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
This project provides technical assistance to jurisdictions seeking to conduct one or more sentinel event reviews. The goal of this project is to empower jurisdictions to build capacity and ultimately conduct their own reviews, which will mitigate future risk and reduce costs.
In criminal justice, sentinel events that may be reviewed through this process include:
- The premature release from prison of an individual who quickly reoffends, particularly through committing a violent crime
- A wrongful arrest or conviction that leaves the real perpetrator at large
- The wounding of a police officer by a mentally ill probationer
- The death of an individual in criminal justice custody
- The loss of probative evidence in a crime scene or lab
- An out-of-policy police shooting.
How to Apply:
To ensure these reviews are holistic, a minimum of three agencies whose actions or inactions contributed to the sentinel event must indicate their support for and willingness to participate in the sentinel event review process from the outset. The precise agencies or stakeholders participating will depend on the case selected (e.g., police, prosecution, defense, courts, probation, corrections, parole, juvenile justice, behavioral health, education, community organizations, and others are all potentially eligible participants).
SEI aims to empower jurisdictions to build capacity and conduct their own reviews, which will mitigate future risk and reduce costs. Thus, we invite jurisdictions interested in conducting one or more sentinel event reviews to inquire about any case(s) of interest, whether they fall in the above categories or other areas. To ensure that the reviews are holistic, a minimum of three agencies must indicate their support for and willingness to participate in the sentinel event review. The precise agencies or organizations participating will be dependent on the case selected (e.g., police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, courts, probation, corrections, parole, juvenile justice, behavioral health, community organizations, and others are all potentially eligible participants).
Applications must include:
- A brief summary (1-2 pages) of the event(s) your jurisdiction would like to review, including:
- A description of the event, including when it occurred
- A description of open litigation related to the event, if any
- An overview of how identified SEI partners were involved in the event
- A high-level overview of any anticipated challenges to conducting the review, if any
- A letter of support that indicates willingness to participate from each of the three (or more) agencies who will be participating in the review process.
- A list of key team members (name and position) representing the three or more stakeholder groups that would participate in the review. Please designate one person as the team point of contact for the selection process.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Applicants should send their event(s) descriptions, letters of support, and team member lists to the BJA SEI team at [email protected]. Incomplete applications may not be reviewed.
Please direct any questions about the application process to [email protected].
All sites receiving technical assistance through the National Demonstration Collaboration will also be participating in an evaluation of the sentinel event review process. This evaluation is purely process-focused, and will not involve the sharing of any case-relevant information.