The Campaign for Smart Justice

Smart Justice

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Ending the era of mass incarceration means dismantling the tough-on-crime approach and racial bias that has come to define criminal justice. 

With 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the world’s prison population, it is easy to see that the U.S. has a mass incarceration problem. Delaware is part of that problem.

That’s why cutting the prison population by half and challenging the racial bias in the system are the primary goals of our Campaign for Smart Justice.

A goal like ending mass incarceration is an ambitious one, but we’re up for the challenge and are tackling every piece of the puzzle:

  • Shorter Sentences, Fewer Prisoners: The laws and policies sending so many people to prison and for such long prison terms must be changed.
  • End Cash Bail: The current for-profit cash bail system is unjust. It targets poor people and people of color and hurts families and communities. We need to abolish cash bail.
  • Prosecutors Who Prioritize Justice: Most of Delaware’s criminal cases never make it to trial. Because 97 percent of criminal charges are decided with a plea bargain, prosecutors hold the power to end mass incarceration. We will put the spotlight on them.
  • Probation & Parole Reform: We’re working to ensure that probation monitoring is fair, respects people’s rights, and promotes safety and success for those returning to their communities.
  • Second Chances: The barriers that people face during the re-entry transition create an environment that can make it hard to succeed. It is our goal to ensure that adequate programming and support is available to those in re-entry.

Our aim is to educate the public about the staggering number of Delaware residents who have been adversely affected by the criminal justice system and how that system disproportionately impacts people of color. Through public education, grassroots organizing and legislative advocacy, we will challenge the system and create change for individuals, families and communities.

Smart justice in Delaware means reducing the size of our prison population so that more resources can be devoted to high quality programs inside and outside of the prison system. When over 16,000 people churn into and out of our prison system every year, we can do no less if we want to keep our community safe.

Our Coalition Partners

  • ACLU of Delaware 
  • Campaign for Smart Justice
  • Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
  • Coalition to Dismantle the New Jim Crow
  • Community Legal Aid Society
  • Congregation Beth Emeth
  • Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network
  • Delaware Center for Justice
  • Delaware Civil Rights Coalition
  • Delaware Coalition for Open Government
  • Delaware Hispanic Commission
  • Delaware United
  • Game Changers
  • H.E.A.D.S. U.P. in the 302
  • Innocence Delaware
  • Latino Initiative on Restorative Justice
  • League of Women Voters Delaware
  • Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League
  • NAACP Delaware State Conference
  • Network Delaware
  • Campaign to End Debtor’s Prisons
  • Pacem in Terris
  • Project New Start
  • Safe Communities Coalition
  • Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice
  • The Way Home
  • Westminster Presbyterian Church Peace and Justice Work Group
  • Unitarian Universalist Delaware Advocacy Network
  • Votamos / We Vote Coalition
  • Westminster Presbyterian Church Peace and Justice Work Group
  • Wilmington Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
  • Wilmington Hope Commission
  • YWCA of Delaware

Click below to read our briefing memo, which includes the full Smart Justice Platform.

Briefing Memo

To stay up-to-date on the campaign's efforts, check out the links below.

Sign Up for Smart Justice Updates

Delaware: Police Accountability NOW

Police have shot at least 57 people in Delaware since 2005, and more than 31 of them have died. No officers have been convicted in these incidents. Delaware: We need police accountability. NOW.

April 20, 2021

HB 37 is the Public Health Bill that Delaware Prisons Need

Rooted in expert recommendations, HB 37 is fair and effective. Please stand with us in support of HB 37 by asking your legislators to vote "YES" on HB 37 and letting Governor Carney know that this bill is important to you, too.

January 13, 2021

Coalition for Smart Justice

The Coalition for Smart Justice is a group of organizations and individuals who advocate for a criminal justice system that fosters public safety by reducing mass incarceration, recidivism and racial disparities.

January 22, 2019 Criminal Justice Reform