Supreme Court Outlines New Action Plan for Ensuring Equal Justice
On Aug. 31, 2022, the New Jersey Supreme Court announced the third installment of its Action Plan for Ensuring Equal Justice, a new set of nine initiatives that continue the Judiciary’s commitment to fairness and equity within New Jersey’s court system.
The initiatives are designed to make the court system more equitable and accessible for a range of groups, including at-risk juveniles, the LGBTQ+ community, and populations at risk of violence.
“While the path to a more equitable future may at times be more difficult, the journey – and the destination – are of ongoing importance and urgency,” Chief Justice Stuart Rabner wrote. “In that spirit, the court commits to focus on and allocate resources to advance a new package of reforms designed to make the courts fairer, more accessible, and more just for all people.”
The new plan includes initiatives that seek to:
- Enhance local efforts to reduce the inappropriate use of juvenile detention.
- Reexamine the impact of court practices on people with disabilities.
- Eliminate structural barriers to the courts for LGBTQ+ people.
- Coordinate outreach and awareness programs focused on populations at risk of violence.
- Expand the use of data analytics to identify and address potential disparate effects on people of color.
Over the past two years, the Judiciary has advanced all the items in the first two installments of the Action Plan for Equal Justice, achieving measurable results such as connecting individuals to mental health resources and employment opportunities, and reforming jury selection practices to reduce the effect of bias
On July 19, the Judiciary issued a Policy on Accessible and Inclusive Communications to improve the court system’s efforts to communicate with court users in ways that are accessible, understandable, and inclusive.