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Racial Disparity News
January 21, 2015 (Associated Press)
First Racial-Impact Law Seen as Having Modest Effect in Iowa
After a 2007 report showed that Iowa had the nation's highest disparity for sending blacks to prison, state lawmakers took a novel step: They passed a law requiring analysts to draft "racial-impact statements" on any proposals to create new crimes or tougher penalties.
The governor at the time said the statements would be "an essential tool" to understand how minority communities might be affected before any votes are cast.
A review by The Associated Press shows that the first-in-the-nation law appears to be having a modest effect, helping to defeat some legislation that could have exacerbated disparities and providing a smoother path to passage for measures deemed neutral or beneficial to minorities.
January 15, 2015
Virginia: Governor restores voting rights of more than 5,100 formerly incarcerated individuals
Iowa: Task force fails to fix problems with database of ineligible voters
Minnesota: Minnesota Conversations: Felony Voting
Florida: State legislators and advocates propose automatic rights restoration
Kentucky: Bi-partisan support for voting rights bill in General Assembly
International: Nigerian court upholds the right of citizens in prison to vote in all elections
December 23, 2014 (The New York Times)
When Officers Die and Protests Get the Blame
In the days after Ismaaiyl Brinsley’s killings of two New York Police Department officers and the shooting of a Baltimore woman, some in positions of authority have linked the crimes to protests against police violence. But others believe this linkage misunderstands both Mr. Brinsley and the protests — and that such misunderstanding could have serious consequences.
December 19, 2014
State Advocacy Update: Addressing Racially Disparate Criminal Justice Policies and More
Approaches to Address Racial Disparity
Local Policy Interventions
Advocating to Fund Effective Alternatives
December 11, 2014
Senators Grassley and Whitehouse Introduce Juvenile Justice Bill
Washington, D.C. – Today, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced a bill to reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). The Grassley-Whitehouse bill would modernize America’s justice system with evidence-based practices for handling troubled youth and provide the federal leadership to promote effective juvenile justice systems. The JJDPA was last reauthorized in 2007 but has not been substantively revised since 2002.
“Under this bill, states and local jurisdictions will make measurable, positive differences in the lives of youth who encounter the juvenile justice system, regardless of race or ethnicity,” said Ashley Nellis, a senior research analyst at The Sentencing Project. “Recent events remind us that efforts toward racial justice are not nearly finished, but this bill moves us closer.”
In 2011, almost 1.5 million American youth were arrested, 95 percent of them for non-violent offenses.