Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $400,000)
Rhode Island Attorney General’s Hate Crime Prosecution and Reporting Initiative
The Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office (the Office) is seeking grant funds for its Hate Crime Prosecution and Reporting Initiative. The Office’s objective is to combine prosecutor-led and data-driven approaches with community engagement to simultaneously increase prosecution and reporting while reducing future hate crime incidents. Access to increased resources would significantly benefit Rhode Island’s hate crime response through increased community engagement, enforcement, and investigatory work.
A lack of funding has placed limitations on the Office’s capacity to support law enforcement in their reporting and investigation efforts. In response, the Office has recently created multiple programs that have seen preliminary success. Still, additional resources are necessary to further train and assist law enforcement, members of historically targeted communities, and the public at large.
Additionally, resources are needed to build community networks to ensure affected community members are aware of hate crime protections and report hate crimes. Each of the Office’s four community organization partners, NAACP Providence, the Center for Southeast Asians, Youth Pride, Inc., and the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island, will utilize grant funding to expand their work in hate crime prevention efforts. Specifically, community partners will create and distribute anti-hate materials, organize annual anti-hate events, and participate in anti-hate events hosted by other organizations. Additional funding will enable impacted communities to raise awareness about reporting resources and facilitate hate crime prevention through community education.
Funding will also be allocated to the Rhode Island Commission on Prejudice and Bias, a statutory commission, to enable the Commission to coordinate the Office’s hate crimes training for law enforcement and help agencies develop more robust hate crime reporting methods. The Commission will also organize and host anti-hate events annually, coordinate “rapid-response” anti-hate community events following notable hate crimes, and participate in anti-hate events hosted by other organizations.
Finally, funds will be utilized within the Office to hire a part-time Civil Rights Coordinator who will increase capacity for police training, review department hate crime reporting, and liaise with officers to investigate potentially bias-motivated crime.
The Office of the Attorney General requests $100,000 in grant funding per year for 4 years, a total of $400,000, to create a Civil Rights Coordinator Position, fund Community Partner outreach and education efforts, and support and train law enforcement.