Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparity in the Criminal Justice System
Date:  03-18-2014

Collection of articles discusses variety of topics ranging from prosecution to redemption
The Sentencing Project announced that articles from a symposium on racial and ethnic disparities in America have been published in Volume 16, Issue 4 of The New York University Journal of Legislation and Public Policy. TheSentencing Project writes:

“A Fall 2013 symposium issue of the New York University Journal of Legislation and Public Policy evaluates efforts to eliminate racial and ethnic disparity in the criminal justice system. In “Give Us Free’: Addressing Racial Disparities in Bail Determinations,” Cynthia E. Jones traces the causes of racial disparities in bail determinations and shows how African Americans’ higher rates of pretrial detention contribute to racial disparities at later stages of adjudication. She profiles Saint Louis County, Minnesota – whose holistic reforms include providing training and conducting ongoing evaluations – as a model for making bail determinations less arbitrary and more accountable.

Angela J. Davis’s “In Search of Racial Justice: The Role of the Prosecutor” explores how prosecutorial discretion in charging and plea-bargaining creates racial disparities and offers an assessment of one reform effort. The Prosecution and Racial Justice (PRJ) Program of the Vera Institute of Justice reports on and helps prosecutors’ offices respond to the racial impact of their work. An evidence-based program, PRJ has many strengths but also faces limitations: without legislation it relies on prosecutors’ will for implementation and has limited transparency and funding.

Michael Pinard’s “Criminal Records, Race, and Redemption” reviews the housing and employment barriers facing people with criminal records as well as recent federal, state, and local measures to remove these obstacles. The shortcomings of many popular approaches lead him to conclude that, “expungement and sealing are perhaps the most viable measures—short of a gubernatorial pardon, which is essentially impossible to obtain—to ensure that a person will not be judged forever by his or her record.”

To read all of the articles from the symposium “Criminal Justice in the 21st Century: Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparity in the Criminal Justice System” click here to go to website.