Who We Are

What began as the Prisoner’s Aid Society in 1920 has evolved into an organization that currently serves both adults and youth who are justice-involved – transforming the delivery of justice in Delaware and implementing programs that facilitate fresh starts for victims of crime, youth at risk, and the incarcerated. We are a diverse staff with one vision – to continue the legacy of making a difference in Delaware.

Our Mission

We listen, we amplify and we act to seek justice for all Delawareans through advocacy and services.

Our Vision

DCJ believes it is our individual and collective responsibility to co-create a community that embodies equity, transparency, safety, and healing.

Our Commitments

The Delaware Center for Justice is committed to:

Researching best practices
Educating the community and stakeholders regarding criminal justice issues
Proposing and promoting fair, equitable, and just policies affecting individuals and families involved in the criminal justice system
Delivering evidence-based practices to youth and adults who are victims of crime and perpetrators of crime

Our Focus

In pursuit of a higher quality of justice, DCJ focuses on issues and actions impacting the criminal justice system, including:

  • Conditions of confinement
  • Alternatives to incarceration
  • Re-entry initiatives for incarcerated populations
  • More cost-effective & efficient use of limited corrections resources
  • Legislative reform
  • Meeting the needs of victims of crime
  • Crime prevention & intervention programs

Our Cultural Values

At DCJ, we make strong efforts to instill hope in our clients and constituents. We believe that someone’s past does not define them, and our mantra is “progress, not perfection.” We intend to recognize that people who are making progress may take two steps forward and one step back. DCJ staff believes that prisons are overused, that they cause damage, and that they limit people’s ability to avoid future wrongdoing. Our belief in restorative justice includes holding people accountable, but also forgiving and letting go. We seek to address trauma with all the clients we work with, whether they are victims or individuals who have committed harm.
We aspire to have an office culture that is shame resistant and non-judgmental and that allows staff and clients to be compassionate and vulnerable with each other. We attempt to promote this feeling by working hard to have a warm, caring, fun, friendly environment where humor is used and where all are treated with dignity and respect. We want all clients and staff to be comfortable being authentic. We make strong efforts in practicing active listening to help individuals feel heard. Because of this environment, we need not be afraid to share anything or challenge each other because it is not coming from a negative place. We practice mindfulness activities such as breathing and “being present” to cultivate a feeling of safety.
DCJ aims to be a workplace that cultivates a high professional standard. We wish to be accountable to our clients because we value them greatly, and we recognize that we owe it to them to provide the best possible programs to best serve them. DCJ strives to have data that is accurate and reflects programs that work. We hold ourselves and each other accountable by constantly evaluating our results and our approach to see if what we are doing is working. We work hard to manage our expectations, engaging in dialogue when change is necessary. We are process aware and goal-oriented. We challenge ourselves to be flexible and adaptive.
We seek to encourage and embrace innovation and creativity. We are determined to pursue an environment that is spirited, energetic, and flexible. Our innovative approach with the diverse set of clients we work with means that we view each client as the expert in their own “case,” meeting them where they are.
Our staff members have strong moral principles which include being honest, doing the right thing, exhibiting good character even when nobody is looking, and modeling good behavior in order to be an example to others. We strive to make our beliefs, words, and actions cohesive, coherent, and consistent. We are willing to go against the crowd if necessary to do what is right – even if others say it is wrong.