DPA is working to pass legislation requiring racial and ethnic impact statements for criminal justice legislation in New York. Racial and ethnic impact statements are similar to fiscal and environmental impact statements.
Policymakers contemplating new social initiatives or construction jobs routinely conduct such assessments, which are now widely considered responsible mechanisms of government. States that have passed racial and ethnic impact statements include Iowa and Connecticut. Minnesota uses such statements, and Illinois, Oregon and New Mexico are amongst the states considering similar bills.
Sometimes, policies have unintended consequences. The premise behind racial and ethnic impact statements is to address those potential consequences before adopting new policies. With the Rockefeller Drug Laws, their implementation led to unprecedented, unwarranted racial disparities in New York’s criminal justice system, and a range of collateral consequences for marginalized communities of color.