Community Members Concerned with Inequality in Justice System
Posted: Nov 16, 2016 1:42 PM
By Grace Griffaton
(LEWES, Del.) - "It's justice. Until we get to the point where we have a sense of justice - no amount of resources in the world is going to change the system," said Charlotte King, a coordinator of a public forum about the Delaware criminal justice system held in Lewes.

Charlotte embodies the public's concern at the criminal justice forum.

"It's justice," Charlotte reiterates.

Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice hosts the forum, a discussion between the community and two of Delaware's justice leaders - the Attorney General, Matthew Denn, and Chief Defender, Brendan O'Neill.

A vast community population came out to listen and vocalize concerns. "Retired teachers, retired doctors, ex offenders, people on probation, young parents who worry about their sons or sons in jails, politicians," said Charlotte when asked about those in attendance.

All with one goal in mind: "I think the community needs to know they have an open door to communicate with the justice departments in the area - just to feel comfortable that they are being protected and served well," said Dion Johnson, a community member from Lewes.

People stood and asked the more difficult questions - the concern about inequality between blacks and whites prison sentences, who gets a plea bargain, and why aren't there more attorneys of color.

"It's good as a black man in the community to see my white counterparts, neighbors asking questions that have been in my mind because it renews hope."

"Open dialogue is key to understanding the people that you are serving and the people that are serving you as a community. If we keep talking, if we keep listening to each other, things have to get better," added Johnson.

Community members agree - There must be open dialogue if the state hopes to make progress in its criminal justice system.

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