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Arlington/Falls Church Commonwealth’s Attorney-Elect Parisa Deghani-Tafti Joins “Nearly 40 Elected Prosecutors [Who] Pledge to Visit Their Local Correctional Facilities”

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Good stuff from Arlington/Falls Church Commonwealth’s Attorney-elect Parisa Deghani-Tafti:

Nearly 40 Elected Prosecutors Pledge to Visit Their
Local Correctional Facilities

DAs to Implement Officewide Requirements Promoting Greater Understanding of Conditions and Implications of Incarceration

LOS ANGELES – Today Parisa Dehghani-Tafti joined 38 elected prosecutors from across the country and committed to personally visit the correctional facilities in which individuals prosecuted by their office are placed. Recognizing that “it is vital for prosecutors to understand the true impact of their decisions and to see firsthand the jails, prisons and juvenile facilities in their jurisdiction,” these elected leaders also committed to implementing requirements for all prosecutors in their offices to visit these facilities and to incorporate this concept into ongoing job expectations.

Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, Commonwealth’s Attorney Elect for Arlington County and the City of Falls Church, said, “A prosecutor’s job is to hold in her mind and weigh in practice the safety of the community, the needs of victims, and a just punishment for defendants. How can we achieve that balance unless we see and understand for ourselves the outcomes of our decisions?”

Despite the fact that prosecutors have immense influence over who becomes incarcerated and for how long, many have never set foot inside a prison, jail or juvenile correctional facility. As more prosecutors implement reforms to shrink the footprint of the justice system, it is critical to develop a deep understanding of
correctional facilities – including an understanding of how isolated, dehumanizing and unsafe conditions can impact an individual’s rehabilitation efforts, and in turn the safety of the communities to which they return.

“Prosecutors control the front door of the justice system through their charging decisions — and so much that follows in the lives of individuals in their community when that door is opened,” said Miriam Krinsky, Executive Director of Fair and Just Prosecution. “As such, they have an obligation to see and understand the conditions in the jails and prisons where their advocacy sends people, as well as the impact of those decisions on the individuals incarcerated within their walls, their families and the broader community. Today’s pledge, joined in by a wide swath of prosecutors from around the country, seeks to embed in the culture of DAs’ offices the recognition that decisions to incarcerate someone should never be taken lightly. We hope that by bringing prosecutors closer to those impacted by their actions, they will have a new perspective as they weigh the decision to incarcerate against other options that will keep individuals in community settings.”

The pledge will be implemented by Ms. Tafti’s Office over the coming year, during which time she, as well as all prosecutors in her office, will complete visits to their local prison, jail and juvenile facilities, and implement ongoing requirements for staff. This is a build out of the initiative launched by FAMM as part of their #VisitAPrison challenge, an effort to encourage elected policy leaders throughout all levels of government to personally visit correctional facilities.

Read the full pledge statement here and see below for a full list of pledge participants.

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Fair and Just Prosecution is a national network of elected prosecutors working towards common-sense, compassionate criminal justice reforms. To learn more about
FJP’s work, visit http://www.fairandjustprosecution.org/ or follow us on Facebook @FairAndJustProsecution.

Pledge Participants

Aramis Ayala
State Attorney, Ninth Judicial Circuit, Florida

Diana Becton
District Attorney, Contra Costa County, California

Wesley Bell
Prosecuting Attorney, St. Louis County, Missouri

Buta Biberaj
Commonwealth’s Attorney-Elect, Loudoun County, Virginia

Chesa Boudin
District Attorney-Elect, City and County of San Francisco, California

Danny Carr
District Attorney, Jefferson County, Alabama

John Choi
County Attorney, Ramsey County, Minnesota

Shameca Collins
District Attorney-Elect, Sixth Judicial District, Mississippi

Scott Colom
District Attorney, Sixteenth Judicial District, Mississippi

John Creuzot
District Attorney, Dallas County, Texas

Benjamin R. David
District Attorney, Sixth Prosecutorial District, North Carolina

Satana Deberry
District Attorney, Durham County, North Carolina

Parisa Dehghani-Tafti
Commonwealth’s Attorney-Elect, Arlington County and the City of Falls Church, Virginia

Thomas J. Donovan, Jr.
Attorney General, Vermont

Michael Dougherty
District Attorney, Twentieth Judicial District, Colorado

Glenn Funk
District Attorney General, 20th Judicial District, Tennessee

Kimberly Gardner
Circuit Attorney, City of St. Louis, Missouri

Sarah F. George
State’s Attorney, Chittenden County, Vermont

Sim Gill
District Attorney, Salt Lake County, Utah

Joe Gonzales
District Attorney, Bexar County, Texas

Eric Gonzalez
District Attorney, Kings County, New York

Mark Gonzalez
District Attorney, Nueces County, Texas

Andrea Harrington
District Attorney, Berkshire County, Massachusetts

Jim Hingeley
Commonwealth’s Attorney-Elect, Albemarle County, Virginia

Natasha Irving
District Attorney, Prosecutorial District Six, Maine

Kathy Jennings
Attorney General, Delaware

Lawrence S. Krasner
District Attorney, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Brian Middleton
District Attorney, Fort Bend County, Texas

Stephanie Morales
Commonwealth’s Attorney, Portsmouth, Virginia

Marilyn J. Mosby
State’s Attorney, Baltimore City, Maryland

Karl A. Racine
Attorney General, District of Columbia

Rachael Rollins
District Attorney, Suffolk County, Massachusetts

Jeff Rosen
District Attorney, Santa Clara County, California

Marian Ryan
District Attorney, Middlesex County, Massachusetts

Dan Satterberg
Prosecuting Attorney, King County, Washington

Daniella Shorter
District Attorney-Elect, 22nd Judicial District, Mississippi

Carol A. Siemon
Prosecuting Attorney, Ingham County, Michigan

Jack Stollsteimer
District Attorney-Elect, Delaware County, Pennsylvania

David Sullivan
District Attorney, Northwestern District, Massachusetts