Who we are
The Coalition for Smart Justice is a statewide group of organizations and individuals who advocate for a criminal justice system that fosters public safety by reducing mass incarceration, recidivism, and racial disparities. Through legislative reform, public education, community organizing, and grassroots advocacy, the coalition challenges policymakers to create change that will have a significant positive impact on individuals, families, and communities.
- ACLU of Delaware
- Campaign for Fair Policing
- Campaign for Smart Justice
- Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
- Coalition to Dismantle the New Jim Crow
- Common Cause Delaware
- Community Legal Aid Society
- Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network
- Delaware Center for Justice
- Delaware Civil Rights Coalition
- Delaware Democratic Socialists of America
- Delaware United
- H.E.A.D.S. U.P. in the 302
- League of Women Voters Delaware
- Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League
- NAACP Delaware State Conference
- Network Delaware
- Network Delaware's Campaign to End Debtor's Prisons
- Pacem in Terris
- Project New Start
- Safe Communities Coalition
- Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice
- Westminster Presbyterian Church Peace and Justice Work Group
- Wilmington Community Advisory Council
- Wilmington Hope Commission
- Working Families Party
- Unitarian Universalist Delaware Advocacy Network
- YWCA of Delaware
In 2018, the General Assembly passed a major juvenile expungement bill, giving Delaware Family Court the option to immediately expunge a felony arrest record if a child is found not delinquent or the charge is dismissed, eliminating the need for a separate application and proceeding.
In 2019, the General Assembly passed another important expungement bill expanding access to second chances for adult Delawareans by creating adult expungement opportunities for most misdemeanors and felonies after a 3-7 year waiting period (depending on the underlying crime) without another conviction.
2021 was a big year for justice reform, with five bills passed that tackle Smart Justice issues:
- SB 111, which automates the mandatory expungement process to make record clearance more accessible for people seeking a second chance;
- SB 112, which expands the list of cases that are eligible for mandatory expungement;
- SB 147, which made it clear that use of force must be justified by what a reasonable person would have believed, rather than what the officer in question believed;
- SB 148, which expanded the Attorney General’s ability to investigate non-lethal use of force incidents and requires that race data is tracked and reported in use of force incidents; and
- HB 195, which created a requirement that certain police officers and other employees of the Department of Correction use body-worn cameras to record interactions with members of the public.
Despite tough battles over SB 345 and SB 149 during the 2022 legislative session, the Smart Justice Coaliton aims to reintroduce meaningful and effective probabtion and police reform legislation this year. Sign up for Smart Justice updates to stay informed about new legislation.