Addressing implicit bias is the only way to mitigate the racial disparities created by institutionalized racism. Our national and state approach in doing so in our criminal justice system involves data collection, policy, training and oversight. As we double down on our commitment to implement these tools to address law enforcement, we must commit to addressing the remainder of the criminal justice system. It is crucial that we also address institutionalized racism in other critical systems. We call for the appointment of a Racial Justice Oversight Board with a mandate to continue the management of the implementation of racial justice reform across the entire criminal justice system and the expansion of this approach into employment, education, health and human services, and housing with a comprehensive approach including data collection, policy, training and oversight.
We suggest that the Board be charged with oversight, implementation, monitoring and reporting of Act 147 2016 and Act 193 2014. We ask that the legislature move on the following list of priorities with required appropriations and assign implementation and oversight to the Racial Justice Oversight Board.
1) Move for Vermont State Constitutional Amendment that clarifies reference to slavery in Article I
2) Institute a state sponsored grants for racial justice research, training and education
3) Expedite the completion of FIP training for all law enforcement officers (target end of 2017)
4) Mandate model “Use of Force” data collection policy and training for all law enforcement
5) Prohibit S.W.A.T. or other heavy-handed punitive policing
6) Mandate that racial profiling to be illegal by state statute
7) Prohibit property seizers that financially incentivize police and prosecutors
8) Mandate civilian oversight of law enforcement and all criminal justice system departments
9) Mandate data collection and FIP policy and training for all criminal justice system personnel
10) Mandate Racial Impact Assessments as a requirement for all Bills to become enacted
You may review and sign the Petition for Racial Justice Reform (and Constitutional Amendment) here.