Race/Ethnicity at Criminal Justice Decision Points - 2017

In 2015, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 185, the Community Law Enforcement Action Reporting Act, or the CLEAR Act. The CLEAR Act mandates that the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) annually analyze and report data provided by law enforcement agencies, the Judicial Department, and the adult Parole Board, to reflect decisions made at multiple points in the justice system process. The CLEAR Act requires that the data be analyzed by race/ethnicity and gender. Senate Bill 15-185 mandated DCJ to report these data disaggregated by offense type.

DCJ prepared a statewide report and an interactive data DASHBOARD that presents the findings for calendar year 2017. These two reporting mechanisms (the report and the data dashboard) should be viewed together since only the report contains information regarding the data sets and the research methods. The report also contains data from the adult Parole Board and additional analyses regarding the impact of concurrent cases and prior history on court sentences. Only the dashboard includes detailed offense categories, that is, 17 arrest offense categories and 25 court case crime categories.

Because it is difficult to identify patterns in analyses that involve many categories, the report and the dashboard present a summary of the findings by collapsing the offense categories into four broad groups: Drugs, Other, Property and Violent crimes. Individual crime types are included in the dashboard within the four broad categories. Some crime types include multiple types of offenses. Please see Appendix A and Appendix B of the REPORT for information regarding the crime classification. The crime types include inchoate offenses (attempt, conspiracy, and solicitation).

Race/ethnicity was determined using a statistical model. See Appendix C of the REPORT for more information.

Finally, the cases represented in the arrests, filings, sentences, and parole board sections are not necessarily the same cases. This is due to the fact that a lag exists between when an arrest results in a filing, when a filing results in a sentence, and when an offender is paroled. This study analyzes events (arrests, filings, sentences, parole decisions) that occurred in a single year.

2017 Interactive Data Dashboard
(Links to statewide and judicial district data.

2017 Statewide Report (pdf)

For criminal justice planning committees and interdisciplinary teams addressing disproportionate minority impact, the Brennan Center (at the New York University School of Law)offers a report with guidance on strategies to reduce disparities in local jurisdictions:
Site: Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Jails: Recommendations for Local Practice
Report: "Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Jails: Recommendations for Local Practice" (2015)