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 potential impact on racial disparities. Such statements are similar to fiscal or environmental impact statements, which are now widely considered responsible mechanisms of government. The drug war has produced profoundly unequal outcomes across racial and ethnic groups. Racial and Ethnic Impact Statements can help assess disparities at various stages of the criminal justice process to reveal discriminatory outcomes, whether purposeful or not. Such statements can help policymakers avoid enacting policies that create or contribute to racial disparities – and perhaps even correct some of the mistakes of the past.

Race and the Drug War
Drug Law Convictions and Punishments
Mass Criminalization
Fact Sheet