Committee hopes for more equitable courts, report to be available in December
BEMIDJI—Concerned citizens, judges, public defenders and court officials gathered to discuss racial inequality in the justice system and suggest solutions Tuesday evening during a community dialogue session hosted by the Ninth Judicial District's Equal Justice Committee.
While American Indians make up five percent of the Ninth Judicial District's adult population, 26 percent of the district's major criminal filings are against the group, according to data provided by the committee. Ninth District Judge Korey Wahwassuck said the disparity is concerning to the committee and is something the group hopes to address.
"We're working to make the courts more culturally competent and fair for everyone, and in order to do that we need to understand what community members' experiences are in the court system," Wahwassuck said. "We need to understand what experiences you've had."