S.677 – Requires racial and ethnic impact statement for certain bills and regulations affecting sentencing, will be considered in the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee on June 20, 2016! We need your help to raise awareness on this important bill as it makes it way to the Assembly and eventually to the Governor’s desk!
Persistent racial disparities in the justice system have been shown to harm both individuals in the system as well as their families and communities. This effect is most pronounced in the dramatically high rate of incarceration of African American males in particular. New Jersey’s prison population has more than doubled in recent decades, growing from 6,087 in 1980 to 21,590 in 2014. This growth has been accompanied by an increasingly disproportionate racial disparity, with significantly high rates of incarceration for African Americans, who now constitute over 60% of committed New Jersey inmates, compared to the African American proportion of 12.9% in the general population of New Jersey.
The Solution: S.677 would challenge racial disparity in targeted ways.
- S.677 will govern a process for racial impact statements, a tool for lawmakers to evaluate the potential disparities of proposed legislation on persons of color prior to adoption and implementation. Analogous to environmental impact statements, they assist legislators in detecting unforeseen policy ramifications before the change is adopted, rather than once they have been implemented.
- S.677 would require the racial and ethnic impact statement to include a statistical analysis of how the change in policy would affect racial and ethnic minorities.
- S.677 would amend public distribution for notices to appear in the Register for adoption, amendment, or repeal of any rule to include a racial impact statement.
Overall, S.677 is a step in the right direction to challenge racial disparity in New Jersey. In recent years other states â€“ Connecticut, Iowa, and Oregon — have adopted similar legislation.
Five Ways You Can Help S.677 Pass Right Now:
- Ask your Senator to Support S.677 – Call your senator today and ask them to support S.677, legislation to require racial and ethnic impact statements for proposed legislation.
- You can sign on to support the legislation here.
- Help Us Share The Good News On Twitter – tweet this post: Challenge #RacialDisparity in the New Jersey #criminaljustice system. Support #S677 sponsored by Sen. Ron Rice today!
- Spread Awareness on Facebook – share the status below on Facebook “Challenge #RacialandEthnicDisparity in the New Jersey criminal justice system”. Ask your state senator to support #S.677! New Jersey has significantly high rates of incarceration for African Americans, who constitute over 60% of committed New Jersey inmates, compared to the African American proportion of 12.9% in the general population of New Jersey.
- Forward this to everyone in your network so we can continue to build the momentum!
Also please download the report issued by The Sentencing Project which shows New Jersey as the Nation’s leader in racial disparities in prisons.
Fighting for Salvation and Social Justice
Rev. Charles F. Boyer