CEPP’s Racial Equity and Community Engagement Work


CEPP recognizes that racial inequity and disparity persist at every phase of the criminal legal system, with devastating effects on BIPOC communities. In our racial equity and community engagement work, we meaningfully engage system stakeholders and community members to address racial disparities, center the experiences of impacted communities, facilitate change, and promote community well-being and improved system outcomes.

Our Approach

CEPP has a growing portfolio of projects specifically aimed at addressing racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system and at integrating the expertise of people directly impacted by the system:

  • Through our Advancing Pretrial Policy & Research initiative, CEPP developed and delivered racial equity and community engagement workshops that highlighted how system improvements are most impactful when jurisdictions create a continuum of data analysis that includes race and ethnicity data, meaningfully engages impacted people and communities, and measures outcomes.
  • As part of the La Crosse County, Wisconsin, Racial Equity Project, CEPP is developing a Racial and Ethnic Disparities Strategy, which analyzes data disaggregated by race and ethnicity, with the goal of identifying and addressing disparities in the criminal justice system.
  • CEPP helped the Council of State Governments Justice Center update their Stepping Up initiative to include a focus on racial equity at the intersection of criminal justice and behavioral health.
  • With support from Apple’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, CEPP will examine the needs of women who are detained in jail pretrial or placed on pretrial supervision as part of our Building Pretrial Support for Justice-Involved Women
  • The Bureau of Justice Assistance selected CEPP to create and manage its new Community Supervision Resource Center, which will serve as a centralized hub for information for pretrial, probation, and parole supervision agencies around the country. The resource center will intentionally focus on racial equity and centering the experiences of people and communities impacted by the criminal justice system.
  • CEPP was part of the 2022 cohort of Qualcomm’s Racial Justice Giving Initiative to address the needs of BIPOC justice-involved women. In partnership with the Center for Justice at Columbia University, CEPP will develop a resource for incarcerated women and staff working in facilities to improve their reintegration process.

The Impact

A fair and effective criminal justice system is one where all people are treated equitably, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, or wealth. To achieve this, CEPP partners with both system and community stakeholders—including people who are formerly incarcerated, their families and loved ones, and members of communities experiencing overincarceration, disinvestment, and violence—to help build strategies that address disparities, increase trust, and center community well-being.

These collaborative pathways give all stakeholders the opportunity to share their expertise and add their necessary voices to our conversations about how to achieve fair, equitable, and sustainable criminal justice system reforms.