The W.H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock has received a $1 million grant to establish a statewide court observation initiative that will produce data and research about Arkansas' criminal-justice system.
The project will be done through the law school's new Center for Racial Justice and Criminal Justice Reform, according to the announcement by UALR.
"The project can provide valuable information and data about how the Arkansas criminal justice system operates," Anastasia Boles, a UALR law professor and the center's co-director, said in a statement. "Policymakers can then use this data to develop strategies to improve the criminal justice system in Arkansas."
Two inaugural research efforts will get underway: a survey of pretrial detention practices and the collection of data on criminal charging.
Faculty and staff members involved in the project will work with consultants and others well-versed in the issues to design the data collection sheet. After that, students will work with court personnel and the project's program manager to gather and compile data from criminal court proceedings.
Walmart Inc. made the donation to the UALR law school through the corporation's new Center for Racial Equity, which funds research, advocacy and recommended changes. The corporation's Center for Racial Equity is funded by Walmart Inc. and Walmart Foundation.
One part of Walmart's Center for Racial Equity work is the creation of the Criminal Justice Reform Prevention Research Network. A Walmart Foundation grant to the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center in Los Angeles began a prevention-focused criminal-justice reform national research network, according to Walmart Inc. To expand this network, Walmart provided the grant to the UALR law school to create criminal-justice data from Arkansas.