ICJ’s Action Plan to Promote Racial Justice
Because the Interstate Commission for Juveniles is committed to promoting the safety and well-being of juveniles and communities, we are compelled to take action to remedy the long-standing racial injustice that has been highlighted by the recent killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and countless other Black Americans.
It is incumbent upon us to recognize that racial injustice is deeply ingrained in American institutions, particularly in criminal and juvenile justice systems. To be clear, most criminal and juvenile justice professionals are honorable, dedicated, and courageous. Nonetheless, there is overwhelming evidence that people of color are disproportionately represented in all levels of criminal justice system. Furthermore, people of color face blatant racism and system-related brutality far too often.
As a national juvenile justice organization, the Commission has a unique opportunity to serve as a force for positive change. We must act now to examine our own institutions and support juvenile justice systems throughout the nation in efforts to eliminate both explicit and implicit bias.
Because “actions speak louder than words,” the Commission’s Executive Committee recently adopted a 3-pronged Action Plan designed to support racial justice work at the Commission and with our partners throughout the nation. Action steps will include:
Internal Procedural Justice Assessment
The Commission created an Ad Hoc Committee on Racial Justice to analyze data regarding ICJ operations, as well as ICJ Rules, policies, and resources. Comprised of ICJ personnel from throughout the U.S, the Committee will make specific recommendations for change to the Commission.
Internal Leadership Development Focused on Racial Justice
The Commission will launch a Learning Exchange Series to support Commission leaders as they move to apply a racial equity lens to their work with the Commission and in their states. This series will equip the Commission’s officers, committee chairs, vice-chairs, regional representatives, and alternate regional representatives with leadership skills needed to move from talking about philosophies to enacting real change. The series will be facilitated by Hasan Davis, who will also deliver the keynote address at the Commission’s 2020 Virtual Annual Business Meeting.
External Collaboration to Improve Community Supervision
The Commission will collaborate with other national, criminal and juvenile justice leaders to develop and implement strategies for addressing institutional racism. We have already ready begun related dialogues and look forward to partnering with our colleagues to promote multi-dimensional efforts address racial injustice.
As we launch this action plan, we encourage all Commission members and allies to join with us in working to make meaningful change. We welcome your input regarding how racial discrimination may be embodied in the Commission’s work; resources to address racial injustice; in-state initiatives to address institutional racism; or other related information.
As we move forward, we will continue to promote the safety and well-being of juveniles and communities, with a renewed commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being juveniles and communities of color. We look forward to continuing this work together.
Jacey Rader, ICJ Chairperson MaryLee Underwood, ICJ Executive Director
June 24, 2020