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County team begins to tackle racial disparities in criminal justice

June 14, 2010

The task force has made more than 80 recommendations to reduce racial disparities, but has offered 10 priority recommendations including: finding additional funding for jail diversion programs; establishing a restorative justice program that would take some minor offenders out of the justice system and place them before a community-based panel; boosting mental health resources for offenders returning to the community; and making it easier for people getting out of jail to get a driver’s license, which can help individuals secure employment and housing.

Acknowledging tough budget times, the task force also made 10 recommendations that require no funding, including requiring racial impact statements before implementing policies or ordinances, taking steps to reduce job discrimination based on race and ex-offender status, increasing the number of minorities working in the criminal justice system, and supporting legislative proposals to reduce driver’s license suspensions for failure to pay child support, drug violations and unpaid traffic citations.

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