New Report Released: A Deeper Dive Into Racial Disparities in Policing In Vermont

Download the report here:
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A reported, released 26 March, 2018 revisited the “Driving While Black” report released by Professors Seguino and Brooks last year.  This report provided further analysis including regression testing to address concerns expressed by law enforcement over the past year.  The conclusion of this report is provided below:

“Vermont has embarked on a long-term project of using data to expand awareness of traffic policing and race. Because traffic stops are the most frequent interaction people have with the police, combined with the large number of traffic stops in any given year, data on stops can be a useful tool for understanding the extent of racial disparities in these interactions. They are, in other words, a way of holding up a mirror to ourselves.

Though data often and usually are imperfect, that does not preclude their usefulness. In this report, we have discussed an array of concerns with traffic stop data quality, many of which have been shared with us by police. Efforts to improve data quality are important and should continue to be pursued. It is clear that there are a number of agencies pursuing that goal. In the interim, however, the data we do have are useful at gauging racial disparities in policing and give no evidence of being so systematically flawed that they are unusable.

In this report, we provide details on a statistical analysis that controls for other factors that may influence the probability of being searched or of contraband being found during a search. Those results demonstrate that while other factors also contribute to the likelihood of either of those outcomes, racial disparities continue to exist when those factors are controlled for. In particular, Black and Hispanic drivers in Vermont are substantially more likely to be searched than White or Asian drivers, and are less likely to be found with contraband. The levels of disparity indicated by the logistic regressions are very similar to the search and hit rate ratios in our original 2017 study. The use of more rigorous statistical techniques therefore does not alter the nature of our 2017 findings.

These disparities should be of great concern to law enforcement agencies, communities, and legislators. While the disparities in no way suggest that agencies are intentionally profiling people of color, they do indicate the necessity for law enforcement to be selfreflective about their policing practices and to interrogate the role of implicit bias in decision-making. Research shows that implicit racial bias is evident in numerous domains, not just policing. As its name suggests, it is often unconscious rather than intentional. Several agencies have planned or are planning implicit bias trainings, a positive step to work toward fair and unbiased policing in Vermont. The Vermont State 24 Police has gone beyond this to rigorously examine a wide array of practices, procedures, and policies to ensure fair and impartial policing at every level.

Finally, with regard to the descriptive analysis of 2016 VSP contraband, it is instructive that for searches turning up heroin, cocaine, and opioids, drugs that are so much in the Vermont news of late, only White drivers were found with such contraband. There may be other aspects of drug trafficking in Vermont not reflected in these data. But the data tell us that in terms of discretionary searches in the course of traffic policing, the stereotype, held by society as a whole, that people of color are more likely to be drug traffickers is erroneous.”

Download the report here:
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We have 48 Hours to Make History – Please Ask Senate Appropriations to Fund S.281 and PASS it  out of Committee NOW!

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience, but where he stands in moments of challenge, moments of great crisis and controversy. And this is where I choose to cast my lot today.

― Martin Luther King Jr., To Charter our Course for Our Future”

 

All,

If there is any hope that the systemic racism mitigation bill (S.281) passes this year, it MUST come out of Senate Appropriations funded NOW.
Appropriations cross-over is on Friday, 16 March. Here is how YOU CAN HELP:

  1. Please pass this call to action to EVERYONE on your mailing list.
  2. Call the Statehouse and leave a message for Senators, Kitchel, Nitka, Sears, Starr, McCormack, Ashe, Westman and Balint with S.281 in the subject line, asking that the committee to “immediately fund and pass S.281 out of Senate Appropriations Committee.” Also ask YOUR Senator to vote S.281 out of the Full Senate by Friday, 16 March.  Call 828.2228
  3. Please send an email to this address vermont-senate-appropriations@googlegroups.com, requesting that they “immediately fund and pass S.281 out of Senate Appropriations Committee.” Make sure that S.281 is in the subject line.
  4. Email your Senator and Ask them to Vote S.281 Out of the full Senate by Friday, 16 March.  Find your Senator’s email address here:  https://legislature.vermont.gov/people/all/2018/Senate

Here is the bill as voted out of senate Senate Government Operations. Here is the Coalition systemic racism research document and again the  Q&A to verse you in the bill background and details

Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel Report Released

Download the Report here:

Download Now

A report was released by the Chair and Vice Chair of the Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel last week.  The report, as outlined in ACT 54, 2017 provides updates on:

  1. A review of data collected pursuant to 20 V.S.A. §2366, to measure State progress toward a fair and impartial system of law enforcement; and
  2. Progress on educating and engaging with communities, businesses, educational institutions, State and local governments, and the general public about the nature and scope of racial discrimination in the criminal and juvenile justice system; and
  3. Progress on the recommendations from the 2016 report of the Attorney General’s Working Group on Law Enforcement Community Interactions.

This report provides recommendations to the Criminal Justice Training Council and the Vermont Bar Association on data collection and model trainings and policies for law enforcement, judges, correctional officers and attorneys, including prosecutors, to recognize and address implicit bias.  Also recommendations on data collection and a model training and policy on de-escalation and the use of force in the criminal and juvenile justice system are provided to the Criminal Justice Training Council.  Finally the report, includes various specific recommendations on addressing systemic implicit bias in Vermont’s criminal and juvenile justice system, including:

  1. How to institute a public complaint process to address perceived implicit bias across all systems of State government; and
  2. Whether and how to prohibit racial profiling, including implementing any associated penalties; and
  3. Whether to expand law enforcement race data collection practices to include data on non-traffic stops by law enforcement.

The Panel’s next meeting is on 13 March, 2018 at the Waterbury State Office Complex. Sally Fox Conference Center, from 6:00 – 8:00 PM.

The first of a number community discussions throughout the state are listed below:

March 11th and 18th at the Unitarian Church in Montpelier – 6:00 – 8:00 PM
March 12th and 27th at the CCTV Burlington (294 Winooski Avenue) – 6:00 – 8:00 PM

https://www.facebook.com/events/1750472371640285/ (Montpelier)
https://www.facebook.com/events/2082017761825295/ (Burlington)

3 V.S.A. § 168 established the Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel in the Office of the Attorney General.  This report was provided to the Attorney General, the Human Rights Commission Executive Director, the House Speaker and the President Pro Tempe.  You can download the report, released 2 March, 2018 here.

Download Now

Proposal for a Senate Resolution Requesting that the 2019 Senate Amend the Constitution, Removing Reference to Slavery

 

 
Call 802.828.2228 and ask your Senator to take up this Resolution.  Find your Senator here: https://legislature.vermont.gov/people/search/2018  Also, send a note to the Senate Judiciary Committee at this address: vermont-senate-judiciary@googlegroups.com  Subject line: “Constitutional Amendment –  Slavery” 

Senate resolution relating to encouraging its members, in 2019, to initiate an amendment to the Vermont Constitution regarding the removal of all reference to slavery. 

Whereas, the original Vermont Constitution of 1777, allowed for the holding of males until the age of 21, females until the age of 18 and anyone bound by law for payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like to be held as slaves.

Whereas, the revised Vermont Constitution of 1786, continued to allow for the holding of males until the age of 21, females until the age of 18 and anyone bound by law for payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like to be held as slaves.

Whereas, the adopted Vermont Constitution of 1793, continued to allow for the holding of males until the age of 21, females until the age of 18 and anyone bound by law for payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like to be held as slaves

Whereas, the Vermont Constitution being amended by Conventions in 1828, 1836, 1850, and 1870, continued to allow for the holding of males until the age of 21, females until the age of 18 and anyone bound by law for payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like to be held as slaves

Whereas, the Vermont Constitution being amended by the people in 1883 and 1913 continued to allow for the holding of males until the age of 21, females until the age of 18 and anyone bound by law for payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like to be held as slaves 

Whereas, the Vermont Constitution being amended by the people in 1924 continued to allow for the holding of males until the age of 21, changed the age of females from 18 to 21 and continued to allow anyone bound by law for payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like to be held as slaves

Whereas, the Vermont Constitution being amended by the people 27 additional times, 25 of which were ratified, the last of which being as recent as 2010, to this day continues to allow for the holding of males AND females until the age of 21 and anyone bound by law for payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like to be held as slaves.

Whereas, Vermont is the ONLY state in the United States that constitutionally allows for the holding of males AND females until the age of 21 and anyone bound by law for payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like to be held as slaves.

Whereas, every voter solemnly swears (or affirms) that whenever they giving their vote or suffrage, touching any matter that concerns the State of Vermont, they will do it so as in their conscience they shall judge will most conduce to the best good of the same, as established by the Constitution, without fear or favor of any person.

Whereas, every officer, whether judicial, executive, or military, in authority under this State, solemnly swears (or affirms) that they will be true and faithful to the State of Vermont, and that they will not, directly or indirectly, do any act or thing injurious to the Constitution or Government thereof.

Whereas, every State Representative solemnly swears (or affirms) that as a member of the Assembly, they will not propose, or assent to, any bill, vote or resolution, which shall appear to them injurious to the people, nor do nor consent to any act or thing whatever, that shall have a tendency to lessen or abridge their rights and privileges, as declared by the Constitution of this State.

Whereas, the Vermont Constitution is the foundation of governmental structure, political processes, and limitations on the use of power and underpins all of the laws of the Green Mountain State of Vermont.

Resolved by the Senate:

That the Senate of the State of Vermont encourages its members, in 2019, to initiate a Vermont Constitutional Amendment to read as follows:

 “Article 1. [All persons born free; their natural rights; slavery prohibited]

“That all persons are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent, and unalienable rights, amongst which are the enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety; therefore no person born in this country, or brought from over sea, ought to be holden by law, to serve any person as a servant, slave or apprentice. , after arriving to the age of twenty-one years, unless bound by the person’s own consent, after arriving to such age, or bound by law for the payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like.”

“VOTER QUALIFICATIONS OF FREEMEN AND FREEWOMEN”

  • 42. [VOTER’S QUALIFICATIONS AND OATH

S.281 Voted out of Senate Government Operations (5-0) Independent and Funded! – It’s up to Senate Appropriations Now!

“Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to work to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”

― Martin Luther King Jr.Why We Can’t Wait

 

Ask Senate Appropriations to Fund S.281 and PASS it  out of Committee ASAP

All,

This bill which was originally intended to create a commission to mitigate systemic racism in Vermont, was passed out of Senate Government Operations as a funded AND independent body (5-0). Now it is up to Senate Appropriations to approve the funding and they need to do it quick!  They will get the bill on the 13th and Appropriations cross-over is on the 16th of March!  There is little if any time to delay!

This could likely be the most important bill that the Senate passes this session.  Please ask Senate Appropriations to immediately fund and  pass S.281 out of Committee. Please pass this call to action to EVERYONE on your mailing list.

  1. Call the Statehouse and leave a message for Senators, Kitchel, Nitka, Sears, Starr, McCormack, Ashe, Westman and Balint with S.281 in the subject line, asking that the committee “immediately fund and pass S.281 out of Senate Appropriations Committee.”
  2. Please send an email to this address vermont-senate-appropriations@googlegroups.com, requesting that they “immediately fund and pass S.281 out of Senate Appropriations Committee.” Make sure that S.281 is in the subject line.
  3. PLEASE submit any statements and testimony NOW! Include your name, your title, your organization, the date and the bill (S.281) on your statement or testimony.   You can send them here: vermont-senate-appropriations@googlegroups.com

Here is the bill as voted out of senate Senate Government Operations. Here is the Coalition systemic racism research document and again the  Q&A to verse you in the bill background and details.