Nebraska’s Legislative Bill 814 would improve policymaking for proposed sentencing laws and other laws impacting criminal justice law and policy by informing law makers of the potential impact on racial justice and racial disparities in a system known to perpetuate and expand such disparities.
Nine states – Iowa, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Oregon, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia – have implemented mechanisms for the preparation and consideration of racial impact statements; in addition, the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission develops racial impact statements without statutory guidance. In recent years, legislators in several states have introduced legislation to adopt racial impact statements policies.
Black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons across the country at nearly five times the rate of whites, and Latinx individuals are 1.3 times as likely to be incarcerated than non-Latinx whites. In Nebraska, the ratio is 9-to-1, one of the highest in the nation. Compared to whites, Nebraska incarcerates Latinx individuals at a rate of two-to-one. Black people comprise 5% of the state’s population but 28% of the prison population. Whites, who comprise almost 90% of the state population, make up half the prison population.
Click here to read the full testimony in support of Nebraska’s racial impact legislation.