Institute for Innovation in Prosecution Launches Beyond Big Cities Initiative with Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office

Press release from the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution:

The nation’s conversation surrounding changes in prosecution is focused on a handful of urban, well-resourced prosecutors’ offices. But there are more than 2,300 offices across the United States, and few national organizations are supporting prosecutors in smaller communities.

Now, with the support of Microsoft’s Criminal Justice Reform Initiative, the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (IIP), a national prosecution organization based in New York City, is launching its Beyond Big Cities Initiative, a multi-year program aimed at supporting medium and small-sized offices.

As the District Attorney of Buncombe County, DA Todd Williams is dedicated to bringing innovative and effective practices to his community to maintain public safety and promote community trust.

“We must challenge ourselves and our systems to create new, effective, humane solutions to poverty, violence, drug abuse, and toxic stress. We are losing individuals as well as generations of families to those factors which, in all too many cases, lead to involvement in the justice system,” Williams said.

The Beyond Big Cities Initiative brings together more than fifteen elected prosecutors and various criminal justice stakeholders from all over the country for open and honest conversations. The group will explore how prosecutors can overcome their unique challenges, rely less on incarceration, and reduce racial disparities. The goal is to create a series of best-practices guides that will provide smaller offices with guidance on how to implement change in their communities.

“Since its founding, the IIP has worked extensively with elected prosecutors in large jurisdictions to reimagine their role as their communities’ chief law enforcement officers,” said IIP’s Deputy Director Alissa Marque Heydari. “We at the IIP believe the next step is to partner with prosecutors in smaller jurisdictions. It is imperative that we include and uplift prosecutors in communities that may lack the resources of big city offices but are just as committed to justice and equity.”

Williams welcomes the national group’s engagement in his community. “I look forward to joining with the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution to collaborate on how we move forward to ensure justice reform and public safety here in Buncombe County, NC, and nationwide,” DA Williams said.

To learn more about the initiative and its members, please visit

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One thought on “Institute for Innovation in Prosecution Launches Beyond Big Cities Initiative with Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office

  1. Audrey Waite

    When my husband was a Deputy County Attorney in Flagstaff, AZ, he would leave at 5 am for work and discovered a lot of the young college students in jail (Flagstaff is the home of AZ State University) for minor offenses like walking down the main street in Flagstaff with an open can of beer. His logic was he had done far worse things when he was a college student at Penn State University in State College, PA! He thought they did not need to start out life with a jail sentence on their record! So he was successful in getting them out of jail and back to school or home to their parents. I hope the Coconino County Attorney in Flagstaff, Bill Ring, is carrying on this tradition.

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