Racial And Ethnic Impact Statements
What are racial AND Ethnic Impact Statements?
A Racial and Ethnic Impact Statement (REIS) requires policymakers proposing new legislation or changes to existing legislation to assess the policy’s potential impact on racial disparities. Such statements are similar to fiscal or environmental impact statements, which are routinely required before new programs or developments can be implemented and are now widely considered responsible mechanisms of government.
An REIS can be applied to any proposed policy changes (e.g., a bill, joint resolution, or amendment) that would create a criminal offense, significantly change an existing public offense or the penalty for an existing offense, or change sentencing, parole, or probation procedures. It is often linked to a proposal that could have an impact on the population of people incarcerated in a given jurisdiction. These statements can also shed light on proposed civil and administrative policies that intersect with the criminal justice system and carry punitive sanctions – such as loss of parental rights, driver’s licenses, or wage garnishment.
Resource Materials and Articles
- DPA's Racial Ethnic Impact Fact Sheet: An overview of why New York needs a racial ethnic impact review process.
- The Sentencing Project, Fact Sheet on Racial Impact Statements: Brief overview of racial impact statements, including their preparation and implementation.
- Race Forward, “Racial Impact Statements”: Watch Ashley Nellis, Senior Research Analyst at The Sentencing Project, discuss the importance of racial impact statements.
- USA Today, “Should more states require racial impact statements for new laws?”: Summary of states’ efforts to enact racial impact statement rules.
- Marc Mauer, “Racial Impact Statements: Changing Policies to Address Disparities”: An assessment of the development of racial impact policies by the Executive Director of The Sentencing Project.