DELAWARE RECEIVES ABA RACIAL JUSTICE GRANT
A $24,000 grant from the American Bar Association, through its Racial Justice Improvement Project, will assist the State of Delaware in implementing its ongoing racial and justice fairness initiatives, with a focus on the Declaration of Leading Practices. According to Justice Henry duPont Ridgely, "This grant recognizes Delaware's ground-breaking work to protect civil rights and promote racial and ethnic fairness in our criminal justice system. It will allow us to move forward with achieving and maintaining throughout Delaware the important leading practices which the Delaware Criminal Justice Council has endorsed."
The Declaration was adopted in April 2010 by the Delaware Criminal Justice Council upon the recommendation of its Racial and Ethnic Fairness Committee, co-chaired by Supreme Court Justice Henry duPont Ridgely and Court of Common Pleas Chief Judge Alex J. Smalls. Known formally as the "Declaration of Leading Practices to Protect Civil Rights and Promote Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Criminal Justice System in Delaware," the document outlines steps which should be taken by courts and agencies, in a variety of areas, to ensure civil rights along with racial and ethnic fairness. The Declaration may be viewed at http://cjc.delaware.gov. Applicants for grants administered by the Criminal Justice Council that certify compliance with the Declaration are given preference over other applicants who do not certify. All of the Delaware trial courts handling criminal cases have certified compliance with the Declaration.
The Declaration is an outgrowth of the two-day racial and ethnic fairness summit which was sponsored by the Delaware Supreme Court and the Criminal Justice Council in 2007. The summit brought together more than seventy key stakeholders from state government and the community, representing every element of the justice system from arrest to prisoner re-entry.
The ABA grant will assist the Criminal Justice Council and its members in providing training and developing data collection techniques, as well as other technical assistance needed to achieve and maintain compliance with the Declaration.
Members of the Racial Justice Improvement Project Task Force, along with ABA project representatives,
are pictured during a recent Task Force meeting