Douglas County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council to discuss goals regarding racial and ethnic disparities, statewide reform

photo by: Screenshot

This screenshot of a slide from Douglas County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council Data Analyst Matt Cravens' report to the CJCC on June 9, 2020, shows racial and ethnic breakdowns of the population of Douglas County, bookings into the Douglas County Jail and the jail population on May 14, 2020.

Douglas County’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council on Wednesday will discuss racial and ethnic disparities and hear an update on statewide criminal justice reform, according to the council’s online agenda.

Lawrence Mayor Jennifer Ananda will lead the CJCC in a discussion on goals and outcomes for data analysis regarding racial and ethnic disparities, according to the agenda.

As the Journal-World has reported, the CJCC heard data during a June presentation from Data Analyst Matt Cravens that the county’s incarceration rates for Black, Hispanic and Native American residents is disproportionately high.

Cravens’ report showed that the county’s incarceration rate for black people is about 4.7 times the white rate. Nationally, the Black incarceration rate is about 3.2 times higher than the white rate, he said. For Native American residents, Douglas County’s incarceration rate was the same as for white residents, and for Hispanic residents, it was about 1.3 times the white rate, according to the presentation.

In addition, Black and Native American inmates have longer average stays in the Douglas County Jail, according to the presentation. White inmates spent an average of 16 days in jail in 2019, Black inmates spent an average of 27 days, and Native American inmates an average of 19 days.

The CJCC will also hear from Mallory Lutz with the county’s lobbyist group, Little Government Relations, about statewide efforts in criminal justice reform.

A memo from the group to the Douglas County Commission, included in its Aug. 26 meeting agenda, notes that the lobbying group anticipates greater attention to social justice issues, inequities and law enforcement this year than in previous sessions. Several groups and task forces, including the Governor’s Commission on Racial Equity and Justice and the Pretrial Justice Task Force, have been meeting over the interim to discuss these issues, the memo notes.

The council will also:

• Hear a presentation about a new initiative to reduce the number of people with serious mental illness booked into the jail, reduce their lengths of stay and track connections to care.

• Hear an update on the status of the jail. This is the CJCC’s first meeting since county commissioners on Sept. 23 voted to nix plans to expand the jail.

The meeting is set to begin at 11 a.m. Wednesday. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the meeting will be held virtually. Members of the public can find the Zoom link on the county’s website, douglascountyks.org, by scrolling down to click on the CJCC meeting link.

Members of the public can also phone in and listen to the meeting by calling 1-646-876-9923 and using Webinar ID 384 966 736.

Contact Mackenzie Clark

Have a story idea, news or information to share? Contact public safety reporter Mackenzie Clark:

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