Truth and Action: Addressing systemic racism in the criminal justice system in Minnesota
For far too long, the criminal justice system, with its embedded systemic racism, has failed our community. Although there has been some progress toward reform, when the world witnessed George Floyd’s death in police custody in May 2020, a clear cry was heard—comprehensive, systemic change is needed now.
In partnership with our project advisory committee, and along with other interested individuals and community organizations, we established a Truth and Action project—a project created under the umbrella of transitional justice, which relies on the foundation that reform and reconciliation are not possible without first understanding the truth.
This project, Truth and Action: Addressing Systemic Racism in the Criminal Justice System in Minnesota, rests on the foundation of collecting individual stories of lived experiences from those who have experienced disparate treatment within the criminal justice system in Minnesota and then combining those accounts with available data regarding the disproportionate affects the system has on communities of color.
After gathering and analyzing both the qualitative (stories) and quantitative data, work groups will focus on each of the areas of the criminal justice system (law enforcement, prosecutorial and defense attorney discretion, judicial discretion, corrections, probation, and reentry), in order to identify patterns of racial disparities across the system and reimagine a more just system. From there we will identify specific reforms needed and create an action plan, along with identifiable steps for implementation, to advance systemic change toward a more just and equitable criminal justice system.
The first phase of the project will focus on the Twin Cities. We invite Twin Cities community members to lend their voice to the project.
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