Racial Impact Statements

The criminal justice system is wrought with racial inequities. According to a 2013 report from the Sentencing Project, more than sixty percent of people incarcerated in the U.S. are people of color. One source of this inequity is in the creation of criminal justice laws that have uneven racial impacts. To address this issue, state governments across the country have begun to consider including racial impact statements on each criminal justice law that is proposed. These statements–much like financial impact statements–attempt to inform lawmakers about potential racial disparities that may result from specific laws.

This fall, the Social Science Data Lab at Creighton University assisted the Nebraska State Legislature’s Legislative Rules Committee with drafting a model for racial impact statements in the state. The report, titled “Racial Impact Statements for Nebraska: A Roadmap and Examples” (see below), was authored by Dr. Pierce Greenberg with collaboration from Dawn Irlbeck, Eric Meyer, Rebecca Murray, and senior student and SSDL intern Audrey Greder.

Drs. Greenberg, Irlbeck, Meyer, and Murray presented the report virtually at a Dec. 4, 2020 Rules Committee Briefing. The report is also included on the state legislature’s website.