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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    April 09, 2008

    Commission issues report, recommends ways to reduce justice system's racial disparity

    Commission on Reducing Racial Disparities in Wisconsin Justice System releases report, recommendations

    Wisconsin LawyerWisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 81, No. 4, April 2008

    Legal News & Trends

    Commission issues report, recommends ways to reduce justice system's racial disparity

    On Feb. 11, Gov. Jim Doyle's Commission on Reducing Racial Disparities in the Wisconsin Justice System released recommendations that stress the need for fundamental fairness throughout the justice system. The report offers suggestions for all points of the justice system, from law enforcement to public defenders, prosecutors, the judiciary, and corrections.

    Recommendations cover drug enforcement, prosecutorial discretion, the establishment of community justice councils, and policies for probation and parole revocations. The report also targets areas for possible legislative action. Some of the more than 55 recommendations include:

    • Local jurisdictions should develop tracking systems to identify race and age at all stages of contact with the justice system.
    • A statewide process or entity should be created to monitor and track progress in resolving racial disparity issues.
    • Training and resources on racial disparity issues should be provided to local organizations.
    • An online statewide database should be developed to collect and disseminate information on alternative justice programs.
    • Judges should take the lead in developing a community criminal justice council for each of the 10 judicial districts.
    • Electronic technologies should be used to codify contents of court transcripts.

    A complete review of the parole process should be conducted.

    Doyle appointed the commission in March 2007 in response to reports that show Wisconsin leads the nation in racial disparities. To download or read the 94-page report, visit

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