On April 26 – 27, 2019, the Racial Disparities in the Arkansas Criminal Justice System Research Project (“Racial Disparities Project”) of the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law will host a conference entitled Leading the Charge: Fighting Implicit Bias Inside and Out.
In 2015, after four years of empirical research, the Racial Disparities Project released its finding that race is a determining factor in the charge and sentence a criminal defendant will receive in Arkansas. The Project also found that an African American defendant is more likely to receive harsher punishment, especially the death penalty. Additionally, in the four counties where the Racial Disparities Project examined prosecutorial discretion, African American defendants were more likely to be “overcharged” by the prosecutor. Since 2015, the Project has hosted multiple conferences and community forums aimed at developing strategies to mitigate racial disparities.
The conference will feature training by two diversity and inclusion professionals – Dr. Christopher Jones and Martie North. Participants will spend three sessions learning about implicit racial bias, engaging in experiential activities, and developing strategies to combat implicit racial bias. In addition, Emerita Professor Adjoa Aiyetoro, the founding director of the Project, will give the keynote address. Other presenters include attorney Furonda Brasfield, Professor andré douglas pond cummings, Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Rhonda K. Wood, Arkansas Senator Joyce Elliott, and retired judge Olly Neal. More presenters are being added.
The event is open to the public and admission is free. Space, however, is limited. More information, as well as a registration form, can be found here.