A state coalition has developed to promote policy solutions for the racial disparity that underlies the state’s juvenile and criminal justice systems. The initiative has coalesced around authorizing racial impact statements as a policy goal. Racial impact statements are a tool for lawmakers to evaluate potential disparities of proposed legislation prior to adoption and implementation. Similar to fiscal impact statements, they assist legislators in detecting unforeseen policy ramifications.
Coalition partners include faith leaders with the AME Ministers Coalition and the New Jersey Parent Caucus. Members are working closely with bill champion, Sen. Ronald Rice, on strategies to build momentum and advance the measure through the legislative process. Current tactics involve garnering additional support from state faith leaders and public education efforts with state advocates interested in criminal justice reform.