The newly-formed Prosecutors and Elected Officials (PEO) Special Interest Group (SIG) aims to bring together prosecutors, elected officials, and other criminal justice policy experts from across the globe who are interested in advancing connections and collaborations to forge and promote public health responses to issues often criminalized or addressed in a punitive way through the justice system. In some jurisdictions chief prosecutors are also elected officials, and thus are leaders of systemic criminal justice reform as well as the head of traditional prosecution functions in their individual offices. The PEO SIG is designed to be a forum for chief prosecutors and other leaders who play similar roles in national and local criminal justice systems, or those with related interests and expertise.
The PEO SIG will set the table for conversations around lifting up and sharing new thinking and innovations aimed at promoting a public health, rather than punitive and criminal justice-driven, response to challenges such as substance use disorder, mental health issues, violence, and more. The PEO SIG will help forge cross-national connections and a global network of interested and like-minded prosecutors, elected officials and policy leaders who can share information and ideas, support each others’ efforts, and act as a collaborative and collective voice to help imbed public health approaches in criminal justice systems.
It is well-settled that prosecutors and elected officials can play a vital role in advancing and cementing public health and law enforcement integration, but it is only recently that the international community has focused on the unique role of innovative and reform-minded prosecutors and elected officials in this mission. The PEO SIG will formalize and centralize efforts to ensure that these leaders are part of the GLEPHA community and involved in its work and gatherings going forward.