Citizens Academy helps sort fact from fictionPosted: 10/22/2019
On opening night of the 2019 Citizens Academy, District Attorney General Charme Allen played a game of “Fact vs. Fiction” with academy participants. This fun exercise typically reveals how media’s portrayal of the criminal justice system can make it difficult to pick out fact from fiction. The growing popularity of crime entertainment has made it increasingly important to educate the community on the criminal justice system.
In 2016, General Allen launched the State’s first District Attorney General’s Citizens Academy. The purpose of the citizens academy is to walk citizens through a complex system that oftentimes seems to be shrouded in secrecy. The District Attorney General’s Office is commonly prohibited from discussing case details with the general public due to ethical rules. The academy provides an opportunity to describe the prosecutor’s role and to generally explain challenges prosecutors face as they seek justice for crimes committed in our community.
In addition to a “Criminal Justice 101” overview, members of the 2019 class learned about emerging trends impacting our society’s safety and well-being. These trends and topics included substance misuse, online solicitation, and truth in sentencing. After participants were properly briefed about the in and outs of the criminal justice system, they put what they learned into practice by participating in a mock trial developed by the office’s prosecutors. Through trying “State of Tennessee V. Treefox,” citizens experienced firsthand the State’s burden to prove a crime was committed beyond a reasonable doubt.
Graduate Janis Crye shared, “The Knox County District Attorney's Citizen Academy is an eye-opening experience. You will leave with a new awareness about the duties and responsibilities of the office in general as well as how they operate on a day-to-day basis. It is informative and well worth the time invested.”
Adults who live and/or work in Knox County are encouraged to apply for the citizens academy. If you would like to be notified when the 2020 application is available, contact Emily Scheuneman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 865-215-2515.
Congratulations to the 2019 participants!