This week, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) introduced two separate bills designed to fight what he characterized as racial bias in the justice system. One bill, known as the Justice Integrity Act, would force the nation’s judicial districts to accept advisory groups to do studies on racial disparities; the other bill would force states receiving federal money from any federal justice program to implement a plan to reduce racial disparities.
Cohen said, “From the biased use of ‘stop and frisk’ policies to the impact of unfair mandatory minimum sentences on minority communities, there is widespread evidence that racial disparities pervade our criminal justice system. These disparities undermine confidence in the system, threaten the cause of justice, and cannot continue in a society that holds fairness and equality in high regard.”
Cohen’s bills follow hard on the Department of Justice guidelines designed to alleviate racial disparities in the number of students suspended and expelled from schools, as well as a new DOJ policy that would prohibit profiling based on religion, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation.