Aligning Justice System Outcomes with Community Values

Alongside the leadership of the community and systems, Ramsey County will strategically align its justice system transformation with community values.

Why this is a priority

Ramsey County’s justice system is not structured to produce just outcomes for all. The current structure disproportionally impacts and harms the wellbeing of low-wealth and low-income communities, and especially communities of color, all while limiting those communities’ voices. In order to truly transform the justice system, promote wellbeing and not cause harm, Ramsey County must take responsibility for its role in the disparate outcomes our community experiences. The county must work in partnership with the community in redesigning our government systems and directly correcting disparate outcomes to achieve our vision of a county where all are valued and thrive. Through the strategic organization of our justice system reform efforts, we will work towards long-term, positive outcomes for the communities we serve and the intentional reconstruction of our institution.

Building on previous work and lessons learned

Since fall 2018, Ramsey County has partnered with the W. Haywood Burns Institute to challenge leadership to confront historical and institutional racism, as well as reimagine our government structured around values rather than mandates and outputs. This work has directly influenced existing and new justice transformation initiatives across departments and collaborative tables. Significant reform efforts progress within adult pretrial justice, youth detention and displacement, probation revocation, mental and chemical health connections, reducing criminal fines and fees, as well as child welfare. Additionally, COVID-19 has also presented opportunities for collaborative justice reform outcomes around reducing incarceration populations at the Adult Detention Center and Ramsey County Correctional Facility. Going forward, Ramsey County will continue to join with community and system leadership to ensure that ongoing justice reform is centered on community voice, community values, and racial equity. We look forward to expanding partnerships and uplifting the perspectives of those with lived experience in our systems.

Ensure racial equity and shared power with community is applied

Our justice system targets Black, Latinx and American Indian communities, prohibiting opportunity for development without debilitating disparities. Additionally, opposition to genuine power sharing with these communities structurally excludes their voices from directing services to which they are equitably entitled. As we develop and implement this work, we will engage with the communities most impacted by these disparities to partner in shared decision-making and intentionally dismantle and reconstruct our government around serving their needs.