Racial Justice Reform Bill Signed by Governor Today

May 31, 2017

Contact: Mark Hughes, co-founder, Justice For All (401) 480 8222; mark@justiceforallvt.org

Racial Justice Reform Bill signed by Governor Scott

MONTPELIER, VT May 31, 2017 – Justice For All is pleased to announce that Governor Scott signed H.308, a racial justice reform bill. This new law sets forth guidance to “establish a panel to review and provide recommendations to address systemic racial disparities in statewide systems of criminal and juvenile justice”. Vermont will once again lead the nation by signing into law the most comprehensive racial justice reform legislation in our state’s history.

The panel will “continually review the data …collected to measure State progress toward a fair and impartial system of law enforcement; provide 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 and public defenders, to recognize and address implicit bias;” and provide additional 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” The panel will also have a role in “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.” Finally, the law states that the “Attorney General, together with the Human Rights Commission and interested stakeholders, shall develop a strategy to address racial disparities within the State systems of education, labor and employment, access to housing and health care, and economic development.”

“The issues are real and the time is now”, said Mark Hughes, Executive Director of Justice For All, the driving organization behind the Racial Justice Reform Coalition a 32-organization coalition leading the charge for racial justice reform in Vermont. Coalition member Robb Kidd of the Vermont Sierra Club said, “It’s a shame in this day and age that we actually have to have a bill passed to promote racial equality.” The Racial Justice Reform Coalition will monitor H.308 implementation and continue to boldly tackle racial justice activities in Vermont.

About Justice For All

Justice for All pursues racial justice within Vermont’s criminal justice system through advocacy, education, and relationship-building.