As reported in the new issue of Sentencing Times, Iowa and Connecticut adopted new laws earlier this year that call for the preparation of racial impact statements as sentencing bills are working their way through the state legislative process. In many states, it is already required that fiscal and environmental impact statements be prepared for new legislative proposals, but Iowa and Connecticut are the first to adopt a similar policy with respect to racial concerns. This seems like a good idea for other states to consider–particularly states like Wisconsin with glaring racial disparities in their prison populations. Of course, the fact that a sentencing proposal might exacerbate racial disparities would not (and should not) necessarily preclude its adoption, but the debate over such proposals would benefit from more self-conscious and well-informed attention to their racial impacts.
- Post author:Michael M. O'Hear
- Post published:October 16, 2008
- Post category:Criminal Law & Process / Race & Law
- Post comments:4 Comments