Two years ago, the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) made a decision that they needed approach to diversifying courts across the country. They created a new position–Director of Racial Equity, Fairness, and Inclusion–and they hired Bell to “address racial equality in the justice system.” And, today, owing to a partnership between CRIJ’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Office and the Correctional Management Institute of Texas (CMIT), Bell spoke to faculty, staff and students at SHSU.
Introduced by Nu Epps, CJ’s Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion…
…Bell got to the point quickly, discussing a “Blueprint” for a new justice system. This change begins with awareness, requires institutional (and institutionalized) change, is expanded by new processes, and is nourished by recruiting justice-system actors from a cross-section of the United States.
These changes can range from being aware of our biases, includes modifications of how we treat people in the justice system, and extends to the manner in which we target opportunities. One of these opportunities, which will be unveiled fully within the year, is C.O.R.A, which involves targeting minority-serving institutions for internships, clerkships, and positions within the criminal justice system.
Bell is well positioned to assess many of these changes. With a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice, a Master’s in Business Administration, a Certificate in Judicial Administration from Michigan State University, and a graduate of the NCSC Court Management Fellows program. He has also worked in the court system for more than a decade, serving as judicial administrator, clerk, and as a planner for the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council of Georgia.
Bell’s experience, wisdom, and inspirational message influenced at least one student in the audience. Kiara Williams, a senior Criminal Justice major at SHSU, noted that it was “an uplifting talk, and it opened me up to some opportunities I had not considered.”
Following the event, Bell spent time speaking with audience members, encouraging students (including Williams), and discussing potential future partnerships–before being whisked away to his next opportunity to spread a message of fairness and awareness.