Community Health, Youth Voices
A group of attorneys from the Contra Costa County Public Defender’s office joined with community activists to document the racial bias they believe exists in Contra Costa County’s criminal justice system and district attorney’s office. With community-law enforcement relations still making headlines around the country, the group wants to compel changes on the judicial level in Richmond. Part of the group’s strategy is to outline pivotal points in the criminal justice process which contribute to the disproportionate arrest and conviction of minorities, and a pattern of lighter penalties for non-minorities for the same crimes. “There are a number of points before you even get charged. The police officer can decide to give you a ticket or a warning, or to arrest you… Once in the system, there’s another set of decision-making points that determine how long your term is, what you’re charged with, if you’re charged as an adult or a minor.” Read more about the work of the alliance on Richmond Pulse.