Ensuring racial equity in the criminal justice system
There must be a meaningful commitment to eliminating persistent racial disparities in the criminal justice system. There is a growing consciousness about how discriminatory criminal justice practices have affected communities of color, affecting the perceived legitimacy of the criminal justice system. Accordingly, there should be a clear objective to systemically eliminate racial inequities in the criminal justice system. The United Nations Human Rights Committee has indicated that the United States “should continue and step up its efforts to robustly address racial disparities in the criminal justice system, including by amending regulations and policies leading to racially disparate impact at the federal, state and local levels.”
Law enforcement agents are often rewarded for increasing volumes of incarcerated individuals and often racially profile in response to this incarceration incentive. These perverse incentives encourage unwarranted racial disparities in the criminal justice system as police officers target marginalized communities to meet these expectations.
To address this racial inequity, the local, state, and federal legislatures; and the local, state and federal executive branch should adopt legislation and/or policies that do the following:
- Expressly commit to the elimination of unwarranted racial disparities in the criminal justice system in legislation and/or resolution;
- Require racial impact statements prior to the implementation of criminal justice policies and in reviewing the enforcement of existing policies;
- Mandate regular implicit bias trainings for all participants in the criminal justice system, including police officers, sheriffs, prosecutors, probation and parole officers, and other system officials;
- Require disaggregated data collection on the race and ethnicity of individuals who come into contact with the criminal justice system; and
- Incentivize the elimination of racial disparities in the criminal justice by rewarding law enforcement agencies that successfully reduce racial disparities in their community encounters with additional funding and resources.