Learning from Error: Why Sentinel Events Reviews Can Be an Important Tool for Innocence Advocates

Location: Rio Grande East
Date: Sat, April 9
Time: 3:15 PM - 4:30 PM

There's no question that the conviction of an innocent person is a tragic error -- the criminal justice equivalent of an airplane crash or conducting surgery on the wrong patient. Aside from the research of innocence advocates and a few innocence commissions, however, most actors in the criminal-justice system have been reluctant to learn from those errors. As a result, they continue to repeat themselves, and the opportunity to use those cases as a way to improve the system is lost. One potential solution to this problem is "sentinel events reviews" or "root-cause analyses." This approach draws from the worlds of medicine and aviation to take a non-blaming approach, bringing together all stakeholders to look at the systemic causes of a wrongful conviction (or other error in the criminal-justice system). This panel will discuss why sentinel events reviews/root cause analysis can be a beneficial in our work and how to think about implementing such reviews in your jurisdiction.

201: Intermediate