Pennsylvania District Attorneys Institute Launches Briefing Series on Procedural Justice

March 16, 2021

HARRISBURG, PA –The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Institute (PDAI), the education and training arm of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association (PDAA), announced today the launch of a four-part briefing series focused on criminal justice reform and procedural justice. The briefings are part of PDAA’s ongoing commitment to share useful information with its members as they engage in conversations related to criminal justice reform and related topics being discussed in courthouses, among community leaders and by citizens.

“Recent events highlight the complexities and challenges in criminal justice law and policy that prosecutors should know about,” said PDAI President Richard A. Goldinger. “Public safety means more than prosecuting criminals. PDAI is offering this series to help prosecutors learn more and talk about some of the most widely discussed, analyzed and debated criminal justice issues of the day.”

The briefing series is part of PDAI’s ongoing commitment to share information that can be useful in individual counties where prosecutors are constantly engaged in policy conversations with local leaders, making improvements within their offices and interacting with members of their community.  PDAI partnered with Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law to provide assistance to bring this important training series to prosecutors throughout the Commonwealth.

“This briefing series is meant to be a productive and responsible way to learn about the issues of the day,” said PDAI Education and Training Chair David Sunday, who is District Attorney of York County. “This intent is to provide another way to learn, grown and assess how to best ensure that all communities are peaceful, the scales of justice are balanced, and we are engaged in ways to prevent crime from happening in the first place.”

The series, which runs March 16-May 25, 2021, includes briefings on procedural justice, criminal justice policies, community relations and trust-building, implicit bias, diversion programs, re-entry and criminal justice data. The series is not meant to espouse a particular viewpoint or reform but rather to present the topic and the facts and viewpoints related to that topic. District Attorneys are free to draw their own conclusions. The series will also provide peer-to-peer engagement should a prosecutor want to learn more about a particular issue, program or initiative.

Procedural justice refers to the idea of fairness in the processes that resolve disputes and allocate resources. It is a concept that, when embraced, promotes positive organizational change and bolsters better relationships. Procedural justice speaks to four principles, often referred to as the four pillars in the process: 1) fairness in the process; 2) transparency in actions; 3) opportunities for a voice; and 4) impartiality in decision making.

The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Institute was founded in 1983 to develop and provide educational materials and training seminars for district attorneys. In addition to providing training and materials to district attorneys and their staff, the Institute also conducts child abuse investigation courses, case law updates and other training courses for Pennsylvania’s law enforcement officials and administers programs to provide training to victim service professionals.  For more information about the Institute and its offerings, click here.

Contact: Greg Rowe, PDAA Executive Director, growe@pdaa.org or (717) 238-5416.