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Racial impact statements may help reduce racial disparities in sentencing.

In 2017, due to the efforts of criminal justice reform advocates, lawmakers in Arkansas, New Jersey, and Vermont considered adding a new requirement to future criminal justice bills: a racial impact statement analyzing whether, if enacted, the bill would have a disparate impact on people of color.For the status of this proposed legislation, see Arkansas SB 237 (2017) (died in the House); New Jersey SB 677 (2016) (referred to committee January 2018); and Vermont HB 492 (2017) (referred to Senate Judiciary Committee January 2018). Also see The Sentencing Project, State Advocacy Update: Mid-Session Trends in State Criminal Justice Reform (Washington, DC: The Sentencing Project, 2017); and Color of Pain, “Racial and Ethnic Impact Statements,”

For example, in New Jersey, lawmakers in 2017 considered SB 677—which passed in early 2018—which requires state agencies to prepare a racial and ethnic impact statement for new criminal justice bills affecting, among other things, sentencing.New Jersey SB 677 (2016). Also see “New Jersey Enacts Law to Examine Racial and Ethnic Impact of Sentencing Changes,” The Sentencing Project, January 17, 2018. Currently, three states—Connecticut, Iowa, and Oregon—require racial impact statements for changes to criminal laws.Color of Pain, “Racial and Ethnic Impact Statements.” Minnesota’s Sentencing Guideline Commission routinely prepares racial impact statements for its legislature, but the practice is not required by law.Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission, “Reports,”