Grantee Cohort Fall 2019, Spring 2018, Spring 2019
Founded in early 2017, Fair and Just Prosecution (FJP) is a supportive network of recently elected, forward-thinking prosecutors committed to reducing incarceration and increasing the fairness of the criminal justice system. Prosecutors (also called district attorneys, or DAs) are powerful actors in the justice system. DAs decide who will be prosecuted and on what charges, and their discretion is not often subject to review or challenge. The rise of mandatory minimum sentences shifted power from judges to DAs, who in deciding how to charge cases, can effectively determine how long someone stays in prison.
Mural Arts is involved in two Art for Justice Activating Art and Advocacy grants. In the first, Fair and Just Prosecution will hire justice-involved artists to create a collection of 10 original works of art for future publication with the New Press. The book will highlight the unique perspectives and experiences of a range of visionary locally elected prosecutors working to reimagine the role of the prosecutor, shrink the legal system and build safer, healthier and fairer communities. Alongside the book and a variety of accompanying media, justice-involved artists will offer creative interpretations of a “portrait” for each featured district attorney. The project will put justice-involved artists at the heart of a national dialogue about a new vision for our legal system.
In its second grant, together, the New Press and Fair and Just Prosecution will highlight the perspectives and experiences of visionary local elected prosecutors reimagining their roles, shrinking the legal system and building safer, healthier and more equitable communities through a book of a dozen first-person profiles. They will interview emerging leaders of national prominence who have brought unprecedented diversity to the field through their identities and unconventional backgrounds, and tenured prosecutors whose perspectives have evolved through their careers.
Art for Justice supports Xaviera and grantee partner’s Fair and Just Prosecution’s efforts to create a series of audio, video and conversational narrative works with key prosecutors across the nation. These works will underscore the historical and personal makeup of these reform-minded leaders and explore their roles in our current justice system and their efforts to change it. Through exploration of the inner workings of prosecution, archival and historical research illuminate the way we arrived at our current system, and the economically and racially segregated climate we live in today.
In the past, Art for Justice supported Fair and Just Prosecution expanding its staff deepens its organizational influence, developing communication and legal strategies to support member District Attorneys across the United States and pushing for justice reforms.