The Fourth Judicial District Court is the largest trial court in Minnesota with 62 judges, 15 referees, and 582 staff who process approximately 40% of all cases filed in the state. The District serves Hennepin County, which is made up of 45 cities (population: 1.2 million), and approximately 40 percent of the state’s residents of color.
With rich diversity in race and ethnicity, the county served by the Fourth Judicial District Court also experiences some of the largest gaps in health, employment and economic opportunity by race in the nation. As a result of this opportunity to align with other government entities to address racial equity and racial disparities in Minnesota, their Court will be supported by peer organizations and entities to address disparities in access to justice, criminal justice and detention. Working with GARE will also lend them relationships and partnerships with other government agencies that have similar commitments as they work on improving court and justice related assessments, policies and tools to address racialized outcomes.
A core goal of the Fourth Judicial District Court is to identify, reduce and eliminate racial disparities, both within their courts and working collaboratively with justice partners outside of their courts. One example is their current work with justice partners on detention alternative initiatives for both youth and adults. The end goals of both initiatives are to prevent racial and ethnic disparities, eliminate inappropriate or unnecessary detention and utilize community-based and culturally appropriate resources and services for the individual and their families.
Their Courts have initiated a concerted effort to educate and develop their employees with staff and leadership development programs that align with their external race equity work. Through increased opportunities of education on race and equity, skill development and expertise in race equity work, and a developed action plan through their District’s participation with GARE, they have a great commitment to equip everyone in the organization with tools and resources to ensure success in achieving racial equity goals.
The Fourth Judicial District Court participated in the 2017 Minnesota Advancing Racial Equity introductory cohort.