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Criminal Justice

Committee Chair: Mr. Donavan Bailey

Police Stops - In Minnesota, the police departments in Minneapolis and St. Paul have voluntarily begun to collect data on the race of the drivers they stop. Minorities make up 35 percent of the population in Minneapolis, but comprised over half of the drivers stopped by police during the six-month study. African Americans account for a significant percentage of the minority stops -- almost 40 percent -- even though African Americans are less than 20 percent of the population in Minneapolis.

  • Arrests - In Minneapolis, Blacks are about two and one half times more likely to be arrested and booked than Whites following a traffic stop.
  • Prosecution - There is little racial data in Minnesota to determine what happens to cases when they are brought to the prosecutors' offices for charging. While data historically has been kept at the point of sentencing, this misses what happens to cases between arrest and sentencing.
  • Sentencing - The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission keeps extensive data on the race of all offenders who are sentenced at the felony level. From this data, we know Minnesota now has the largest disparity between Black and White imprisonment rates of any state in the nation: a ratio of 19:1.

COBM’s Criminal Justice Disparity Eradication Initiative which includes the following:

  1. Authorize county prosecutors and public defenders to gather racial data related to their sentencing recommendations,
  2. Authorize the Minnesota Department of Corrections to conduct an evaluation, using the State Auditor or an independent consultant, of the efficacy and access for minority populations of reentry services, the expungement process and culturally competent treatment programs and, based on the findings, propose recommendations for changes aimed at reducing recidivism, and report findings and recommendations to the community, legislature, and governor by December 31, 2013
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