Remarks as prepared for delivery
Thank you Justin [Bingham], for this warm introduction. Thank you also to Chair-elect Tina Luongo and the entire ABA Criminal Justice Section for inviting me here today. And congratulations to the awardees for their work in promoting justice and public safety for all.
The theme of this year’s conference, Criminal Justice Next: Solutions to Move Equity and Fairness Forward, could not be more timely. The murder of George Floyd and the ensuing global racial justice protests, the pandemic, and a surge in violent crime — especially gun violence — have renewed a needed and urgent conversation in this country about police trust in the community, equal justice and public safety .
Equal justice requires a criminal justice system where all people are treated fairly and equally, and where people can feel safe and secure in their communities. It requires addressing long-standing injustices in our legal systems. And it requires partnerships between a broad group of stakeholders – government officials; law enforcement — including sheriffs who run most of our nation’s local jails; the courts; Victim organizations of crime; persons affected by the judiciary; prosecutors and defense attorneys; non-profit organizations; and service providers – recognizing that we cannot separate the challenges in the justice system from the challenges in accessing health care, jobs and education. These challenges have uniquely impacted low-income communities, communities of color, and people with mental health and substance use disorders.
As a agency with more than 115,000 federal law enforcement officers, prosecutors, civil rights attorneys, and professionals administering nearly $5 billion in grants to local and state justice systems and community initiatives across the country, we at the Department of Justice know we cannot have public safety without it Trust – Trust between the police and the communities they serve, and trust that our institutions are…