Since taking over as Prosecutor, Jean’s top priority has been protecting the citizens of Jackson County from violent crime. No one’s tougher when that is what’s called for. But Jean knows that there are other important ways the Prosecutor’s office can help make our communities both safer and stronger. Here are some of the initiatives Jean has been working on:
Child Abuse and Neglect—Jean has driven a renewed focus on intervening earlier in child abuse and neglect situations to prevent more serious cases down the road. Children are the most vulnerable of victims and are completely reliant on others for their protection. Yet, historically, few cases of child abuse and neglect were referred to the State level for prosecution in Jackson County. Jean’s been seeking to change that system by working with law enforcement for state level prosecution of these crimes.
KC NoVA-Stop the violence, that’s the core message of KC NoVA (Kansas City’s No Violence Alliance), a new effort by key law enforcement and city leaders to reduce violence in Kansas City’s urban core. KC NoVA aims to bring the community and law enforcement together to actively communicate and engage to reduce violence. This strategy for violence reduction follows similar successful models used across the nation. KC NoVA uses police intelligence to analyze the relationships among criminals, mapping offenders and their associated groups. Key members of those networks will be invited to meet with KC NoVA leaders and their partners, including community leaders and the faith-based community.
Neighborhood Prosecution Teams—Jean is building partnerships in the community and focusing our resources on “hot spots” to provide maximum protection for Jackson County citizens. Jean has sought to reduce gun violence through outreach in surrounding school districts and by forming partnerships with community groups, and law enforcement to target gangs and concentrate resources where they’re needed most to remove violent offenders from the community in order to reduce crime.
Protecting and Promoting the Rights of Victims in the Criminal Justice Process—Jean has sought to shift the focus of the criminal justice system back to the victims of crimes by engaging victims early in the process and seeking restitution for victims
Professional and Well-Trained Prosecutors—Jean has brought a heightened focus on ensuring adherence to the highest standards of professional conduct by everyone in the office--including appropriate training and an examination of discovery procedures within the prosecutor’s office. Jean’s determined to have the best trained legal staff in the country and that means keeping them abreast of evolving legal issues and trends in criminal justice.
Re-Entry Program – Jean has developed a new program for offenders who are settling back in our community after their release from prison. This program seeking to address Missouri’s high recidivism rates through a partnership between Prosecutors, Missouri Probation and Parole and the Court offering ex-offenders a path to living a crime-free life. Offenders will be strictly monitored but offered resources for job placement and aid re-integrating back into a free society.
Veterans Court—Jean is working to model this initiative after our Drug Courts. This is a program to get veterans who are having adjustment issues from PTSD and drug and alcohol dependency into treatment during the early stages of their contact with law enforcement.