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Delaware Docket Newsletter

METHOD FOR ALLOCATING CRIMINAL JUSTICE RESOURCES PROPOSED BY RESOURCE ALLOCATION COMMITTEE

     A report to the General Assembly issued March 15, 2006 ,by the Delaware Criminal Justice Resource Allocation Committee proposed a formula for allocating criminal justice resources among the courts, the Department of Justice, the Office of the Public Defender, and conflict counsel. The formula identifies the numbers of judges, court staff, deputy attorneys general, deputy public defenders, and conflict counsel needed for each 100 criminal court filings (in the Superior Court, Court of Common Pleas, Family Court, or Justice of the Peace Court). The Resource Allocation Committee was formed and the Report issued pursuant to the FY 2006 Budget Act. The Committee was chaired by Justice Henry duPont Ridgely of the Delaware Supreme Court and included members from each of the affected constituencies.

     In addition to developing the allocation formula, the Committee made several related recommendations. First, the Committee recommended that the evaluation of resource needs be a continuing process and that the standards used in the report be updated every three years. Second, the Committee recommended conducting a weighted caseload study to provide a more accurate foundation for the development of resource allocation needs, since such a study would translate the number of cases into a workload figure.

     Finally, the Committee recommended that the General Assembly consider using a Criminal Justice Impact Statement for all future proposed criminal justice legislation in order to determine the impact of legislation on the system as a whole, much as is currently done with regard to the need for bed space in the Department of Correction. Such legislation would include bills creating new crimes, changing penalties, or other changes which may impact criminal justice constituencies. This would enable the General Assembly to consider the resource costs of proposed legislation to the entire system and to identify the constituencies which would require additional resources to implement the legislation.

For further information, contact Chris Sudell.

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