Inventory of Do’s & Don’ts
The following list offers helpful tips from the five demonstration sites. Some of the items were mentioned earlier, while others are new. These are ready reminders, simple statements of what the sites would make sure to do—or make sure to avoid—if they had known at the beginning what they know now.
- Expect immediate results.
- Assume everyone is operating with the same level of understanding about the issue or the criminal justice process.
- Tell other participants how to do their jobs.
- Create win/lose situations; it turns people off.
- Worry if statistics go up at first.
- Give up if your community cannot include all of these components.
- Expect the same level of commitment from everyone.
- Expect staffs of local agencies (police officers, assistant district attorneys, or probation officers) to take on new responsibilities willingly. Include them in the communication process to win their support.
- Expect everyone to follow through on commitments. Follow up.
- Establish ground rules.
- Gather relevant statistics.
- Set short- and long-term goals, with a focus on near-term achievements that everyone can share.
- Hear all participants’ views (and have a good facilitator). Many views are never aired or discussed because some members feel intimidated.
- Set a time line for achievement of goals so people do not have to wait forever for certain actions to be taken.
- Respect all stakeholders’ positions and roles.
- Expect turnover.
- Plan and provide for continual training and education for participants. Identify who needs education about what. For example, brand-new prosecutors may need more education about technical DUI issues, and police may need to improve case presentation.
- Take the trouble to do your homework and access technical support before approaching judges and other criminal justice system members.
- Respect local political relationships.
- Establish rapport with the media in the beginning, and be fair and give the media follow-up feedback on your efforts.
- Regularly monitor and evaluate the project’s progress.
- Expect success.