State of Delaware
Criminal Justice Council

About the Delaware Criminal Justice Council

Chapter 87, Title 11 of the Delaware Code

The Delaware Criminal Justice Council is an independent body committed to leading the criminal justice system through a collaborative approach that calls upon the experience and creativity of the Council, all components of the criminal justice system and the community. We continually strive for an effective system which is fair, efficient and accountable.

History of the Criminal Justice Council

The Criminal Justice Council (CJC) originated from the Council on the Administration of Justice and the Delaware Criminal Justice Planning Commission. The Council on the Administration of Justice, created in 1955, consisted of 15 members representing the courts, the legislature, and the University of Delaware. The Council’s primary purpose was to study the administration and operation of the Delaware court system. In 1978, Senate Bill 632 created the Delaware Criminal Justice Planning Commission in response to revisions to the federal Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, which stipulate that to be eligible for federal funds, states must legislatively establish (rather than establishment through executive order) a state criminal justice planning agency. The Criminal Justice Planning Commission consisted of 29 members representing the criminal justice community, the legislature, and the public.

In addition to addressing federal requirements, Senate Bill 632 specifically declared that the establishment of appropriate goals, objectives, and standards for crime reduction and delinquency and for the administration of justice be a priority and that the functions of the criminal justice system must be coordinated efficiently and effectively. As such, it empowered the Criminal Justice Planning Commission to prepare a state comprehensive plan, establish priorities and standards for the reduction of crime, recommend legislation, monitor and evaluate programs, provide technical assistance, applies for federal grants, and perform other pertinent functions.

Senate Bill 632 also included a sunset provision that would temporarily suspend the Criminal Justice Planning Commission’s operations pending a legislative review of the Commission’s performance. This “suspend and review” was to begin in 1980 and continue once every four years thereafter.

In 1984, House Bill 237 merged the Council on the Administration of Justice with the Delaware Criminal Justice Planning Commission to create the Criminal Justice Council (CJC) (Attachment B). The CJC was initially comprised of 19 members. Fifteen members represented the criminal justice community and four represented the public. Membership was gradually expanded to 26 through a series of enactments, the last of which was House Bill 408 effective April 2000.

Some important statutory provisions were lost in the 1984 merger. First, the CJC does not have a defined statutory purpose or declaration. Second, a few important responsibilities formerly performed by the Criminal Justice Planning Commission were deleted from law. These included the preparation of a state comprehensive criminal justice plan, establishing goals, priorities, and standards for reducing crime and improving the administration of justice, encouraging local and regional comprehensive planning, and monitoring and evaluating programs and projects. Thirdly, legislative representation is no longer included in membership requirements. Lastly, House Bill 237 deleted the sunset provision.

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