2016 Conference


National Consortium 28th Annual Conference Sessions

THURSDAY, MAY 26, 2016

Welcome Comments:
Keynote Address
General Session #2:
EEOC and Law Enforcement

This session will focus on EEOC’s initiatives to ensure workplaces are free of race and national origin discrimination.  The EEOC has worked to dismantle systemic barriers that contribute to race and national origin discrimination in the workplace and will highlight areas of significant progress as well as challenges and lessons learned.  Additionally, efforts to enhance public awareness of race and national origin discrimination in the arena of law enforcement will be explored, including the partnership between EEOC and the Department of Justice to identify barriers to advancing diversity in law enforcement.

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Town Hall Session: 
Community Engagement – Building Trust in the Criminal Justice           

Research has shown that communities of color perceive that they receive unequal treatment by the court system and in their dealings with the police. The Town Hall will engage the local community in a dialogue with judges, lawyers, police officers, legal practitioners, educators and social service providers about issues that cause barriers for people of color to access equal justice. Topics of discussion include court fees and fines, bail and bond reform, sentencing reform, criminalization of mental illness, incarceration and other important criminal justice issues.

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FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2016 

General Session #3:
Community Engagement in the State Courts Initiative 

Advisory Board members will provide an update on the Community Engagement in the Courts Initiative. The primary goal of this initiative, which has been funded by the State Justice Institute (SJI), is to establish an engagement strategy to bridge the gap between communities of color and court leadership through collaborative efforts to reach out and dialogue through a partnership that will lead to improved public trust and confidence in the courts.  The project consists of a multi-phase approach with various elements over a three year period. 

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General Session #4:
Engaging Communities: Partnerships For Community-Based Prevention Initiatives

This course will present the model of the Office of Community Justice, a program that has been implemented in the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, and examples of community-based initiatives implemented  through this program that are designed to engage community stakeholders in ongoing dialogue with law enforcement in order to develop system-wide prevention systems for at-risk youth.  This model engages a broad spectrum of community partners including but not limited to faith based communities, the court, police, treatment agencies, private and public, schools, colleges and universities, general community members, state and local government agencies, and service providers to plan and implement collaborative data-driven outcomes focused on community-based prevention strategies to reduce truancy, delinquency and violence.  This session will be delivered as an interactive workshop.

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Breakout Session #1a:
Managing Implicit Bias in Juries

This highly interactive session will provide a brief overview of cutting-edge research on implicit bias followed by a discussion among the panelists and with the session attendees about how that research, including techniques to minimize the expression of implicit bias in decision-making, might be adapted for use in jury trials. The panel members consist of experts from the field of research, prominent judges and a distinguished trial court attorney.

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Breakout Session #1b:
European Correctional Model

In the United States, according to Bureau of Justice Statistics, the recidivism rate for those who have been in prison imprisoned is 1/3 in the first six months after release and 2/3 after three years.  By contrast the recidivism rate in Norway is 20% after two years.  The incarceration rate in the U.S. is 700 per 100,000 people whereas in Norway it is 71 per 100,000.  Across Europe the incarceration rate is significantly lower than that of the U.S. The learning objective of this presentation is to discuss the European approach to incarceration and rehabilitation.  The U. S. faculty presenters work in corrections and the criminal justice system and have studied and visited correctional facilities in Europe.    

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General Session #5 Lunch:
"Let Freedom Ring"

Established by Slaves in 1776, First Baptist Church of Williamsburg is one of the first Black Churches in America. The church's longevity and history are a living platform and representation of the process and progress of freedom in America. Freedom, like Justice and Equality are not static achievements, but is an aspirational goal that a society strives to achieve through a process of incremental improvements.  This session will explain how the “freedom” bell at First Baptist Church has been restored after 60 years and people from all walks of life and from around the world have come to ring the bell.

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Breakout Session #2a:
School to Prison Pipeline

Even though African American/Black students represented only 15.5 % of elementary and secondary school students enrolled in 2015, they represented 40% of expulsions, and 70 % of student involved in “in-school” arrests (or referrals to law enforcement).  This group was 3.5 times more likely to be suspended and two times more likely to not graduate from high school than whites.  When one also takes into consideration that 68% of all males in state and federal prisons do not have high school diplomas, the “school-to-prison pipeline” is an undeniable viable proposition, particularly for African American/Black males.   Failing schools, zero-tolerance and other school discipline policies, the increasing presence of police in schools, disciplinary alternative schools, and involvement in the juvenile justice system all contribute to this problem which must also be placed in the larger context of a society rife with inequality and bias.  A distinguished panel of juvenile justice stakeholders, including a member of the Virginia General Assembly, a prosecutor, a juvenile court judge, attorneys, activists, and a researcher will discuss the nature of this problem” and offer recommendations to ameliorate and perhaps even dismantle the “school to prison pipeline” that robs many young Americans of their full potential if not their futures entirely.

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Breakout Session #2b:
Overcrowding and Health Care in Prisons and Jails

This session will discuss the decade long litigation that resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Plata (2011) as well as a general discussion about the state of health care in today’s prisons and jails.  Topics will include the two civil rights actions challenging medical care and mental health care in California’s prison system, the conditions that led to these cases and the litigation consolidating the cases that led the Supreme Court in Plata to affirm a district court order to reduce the California prison population by roughly 40,000 prisoners because of extreme overcrowding. From a medical profession perspective, observations will be shared about health care in other prisons and jails throughout the nation, the impact those conditions have on an individual’s mental health and physical well-being, and how a well-functioning correctional health care system can benefit the general public’s health and operate in a cost-effective manner. 

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Breakout Session #2c:
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and Human Trafficking

This is an informative session that will educate and bring awareness about human trafficking of juveniles focusing on immigrants. Human trafficking is a unique crime, one that is often hard to identify, investigate and prosecute. Human trafficking activities often occur in conjunction with other crimes, which may mask the trafficking component of the activities. The victims of human trafficking may be unwilling or afraid to cooperate with law enforcement because of language and cultural barriers. Efforts are being made to assist these victims through the Legal Aid Justice Center’s Immigrant Advocacy Program in Richmond, Virginia.   

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General Session #6:
State Reports

With decades of experience in examining and addressing issues of racial and ethnic fairness in the courts, the National Consortium State delegates across the country are invited to take part in presenting a progress report on specific efforts or initiatives that their states have taken to ensure or improve racial and ethnic fairness in their respective courts and jurisdictions.