Change from Within

Reimagining the 21st-Century Prosecutor

A new breed of reform-minded prosecutors tells their stories about the challenges and successes of making change from inside the system

“Progressive, reform-minded prosecutors have taken the reins in top local prosecutor roles across the country that have allowed them to begin to change the criminal justice system from the inside out.” —NBC News, August 2019

Growing up in Chicago’s Cabrini-Green housing projects, Kim Foxx never anticipated that she would become the chief prosecutor in the country’s second-biggest county. When Chesa Boudin was a baby, his parents were arrested and incarcerated. Visiting them in prison for decades helped shape his convictions about what justice does—and doesn’t—look like in the United States. Now, along with eleven other reform-minded prosecutors voters put in office throughout the country, they reflect on the task they set for themselves: making change from within.

Using the power of their office, which has traditionally fueled mass incarceration and harsh punishments, this new breed of elected prosecutors has joined the movement to shake up the justice system. In Change from Within, these visionaries describe their journeys to office, what they are doing to change “business as usual,” the pushback they’ve experienced, and their thoughts on reforms that are possible working from the inside.

Published in partnership with Fair and Just Prosecution (FJP), drawing from interviews conducted by FJP executive director Miriam Krinsky, a former federal prosecutor, this unprecedented book includes intensely personal first-person profiles of thirteen transformative DAs. Each story is accompanied by an image inspired by the prosecutor and created by a formerly incarcerated artist.

Praise

“Elected prosecutors helped establish our country’s reliance on mass incarceration, and this book shows that they can play a major role in tearing it down.”
—Ebony Underwood, founder and CEO at We Got Us Now
“This book demonstrates why every single person in this country must pay attention to their local prosecutor’s race.”
—Vincent Shiraldi, senior fellow, Columbia Justice Lab
“A thoughtful perspective on a new breed of prosecutors struggling to right egregious wrongs of the past. Change from Within presents a moving, clear-eyed, and ultimately uplifting attestation of the future we can create together.”
—Barry Scheck, co-founder and special counsel, The Innocence Project
“A cohesive picture of the goals, methods, and mindset behind this movement for change. . . . These reformers reckon with the past and try to map a way forward by helping draw a blueprint for chief prosecutors throughout the country to enact compassionate reform based on successful and data-driven examples.”
Booklist
“Art has an uncanny ability to change hearts and minds. The vibrant and emotional pieces of the formerly incarcerated artists in this book tell a story equally as powerful as the words on the page.”
—Agnes Gund, founder and chair, Art for Justice Fund
“A moving book about the people trying to make meaningful change from inside a profoundly flawed institution.”
—Alexandra Natapoff, Lee S. Kreindler Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, and author of Punishment Without Crime
“This book highlights courageous prosecutors who have rejected overly simplistic ‘tough on crime’ slogans, instead finding innovative ways to fulfill their important missions.”
—Barbara McQuade, former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan

Goodreads Reviews