OLR Bill Analysis
AN ACT CONCERNING THE COMMISSION ON RACIAL AND ETHNIC DISPARITY IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.
This bill makes several changes to the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparity in the Criminal Justice System. Among other things, it:
1. increases, from 21 to 22, the commission's membership by adding the chairperson of the Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission;
2. requires the commission to meet quarterly and when the chairperson deems it necessary, instead of only when the commission deems it necessary;
3. establishes the commission's mission;
4. eliminates existing duties and creates new ones; and
5. suspends the existing annual reporting requirement and replaces it with new biennial reporting requirements starting by January 1, 2017.
EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015
Under the bill, the commission must address the overrepresentation of racial and ethnic minorities, with particular attention to African-Americans and Latinos, in the state's criminal justice system, including consideration of the impact of such racial and ethnic disparity on minority communities.
The bill eliminates the commission's existing duties and instead requires it to:
1. sponsor conferences, forums, and educational and training programs on the causes, effects, and implications of racial and ethnic disparity in the state's criminal justice system;
2. collaborate with national, state, and local organizations and institutions to identify strategies for reducing racial and ethnic disparity in the state's criminal justice system;
3. develop, evaluate, and recommend promising and emerging policies and practices, including any legislation to implement such policies and practices;
4. determine whether any statutory provision negatively impacts the racial and ethnic disparity in the state's criminal justice system and recommend statutory changes to the Governor and General Assembly to reduce such impact;
5. make recommendations to the Governor, the General Assembly, and state and local agencies and organizations on the implementation of any such strategy, policy, practice, or legislative change; and
6. assess the impact of implementing any such strategies, policies, practices, or legislative changes.
Under current law, among other things, the commission must develop and recommend policies for reducing the number of minorities in the criminal justice system; examine the impact of statutes and policies on any such disparities; research and gather statistical data on the impact of such disparities; develop and recommend training programs for criminal justice system personnel; prepare annual comprehensive plans to reduce racial and ethnic disparity and the number of minorities in the juvenile justice system; analyze the key stages in the juvenile justice system to determine any stage where there is disparate impact; and annually prepare and distribute a juvenile justice plan to reduce the number of minorities in the juvenile justice system.
Under current law, the commission is required, by January 1st, to annually report to the General Assembly on the additional resources that should be made available to reduce racial and ethnic disparity in the criminal justice system without affecting public safety. The bill suspends this requirement and replaces it with a new reporting requirement. Under the bill, the commission must, starting by January 1, 2017 and biennially after that, report to the Governor and the General Assembly on its activities and accomplishments since the period after the previous report.
Joint Favorable Substitute