Got a press release on the Sentencing Project's new report on "racial impact statements" straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak. Thought I'd remind you and share at the same time. Marc and I are on a first-name basis:
I'm pleased to let you know of an article I have recently had published in the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law that proposes the development of "Racial Impact Statements" as a means of assessing the impact of proposed sentencing policies. I believe that such a policy would be of great benefit to policymakers and practitioners by establishing a proactive means of addressing a key dynamic in the criminal justice system. In Racial Impact Statements as a Means of Reducing Unwarranted Sentencing Disparities, I suggest that these statements have much in common with fiscal and environmental impact statements that have become commonplace at many levels of government. The goal of a racial impact statement would be to assess the projected impact of new sentencing legislation on racial and ethnic minorities prior to enactment of the policy. If the statement indicates that unwarranted sentencing disparities might be produced, legislators would have the opportunity of considering alternative means of achieving public safety goals that would not exacerbate existing disparities.
I hope that this proposal will be of use to legislators, sentencing commissions, practitioners, and advocacy organizations alike. Far too often in public policy discussions issues of racial disparity are examined after the fact. By enacting this policy, we would have the opportunity to engage in a more constructive approach to assessing issues of race and the criminal justice system.
I hope you find this article helpful in your work and would welcome hearing any reactions you may have.