Penn’s Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice created a website to help prosecutors investigate wrongful convictions.
According to Penn Law, www.convictionreview.net provides prosecutors in conviction review units with materials and resources, such as guides and templates for each step of the review process and advice on best practices. All of the site’s resources are free and available to anyone who may need them, Penn Law reported.
Assistant Director at the Quattrone Center Marissa Bluestine said that the Center wanted to make the materials and resources available to all prosecutors to make sure they maintain high standards of independence, flexibility, and transparency.
“We also wanted other people to see what these units should look like because there's an element of public accountability as well," Bluestine said. "People should understand how these units should be evolving and if they're not then hold their own electeds accountable.”
The website also provides counsel on supporting crime victims and their families. Bluestine said that she feels there has been a lack of attention to the trauma these individuals may endure during the post-conviction process.
“Many times the original victims and the victims' families are not included in the process at all and if they are it's almost a last-minute inclusion,” Bluestine said. “It was important to us to get that out there quickly and as an upfront issue for people who are thinking about these units and for prosecutors to really make sure they're oriented to including the victims right off the bat.”
According to Penn Law, the Quattrone Center partnered with leaders of conviction review units to create the site. The site was developed as part of a federal grant from the Bureau of Justice Administration to assist prosecutorial offices in enhancing the work of conviction review units.
“The Quattrone center really is on the forefront of these issues,” Bluestine said. “We see these conviction integrity units not just as important for rectifying past wrongful convictions, but really, for driving forward policy and implementation within a prosecutor's office by learning from that error, and learning to prevent that error.”