The Crime Report, "Project to cut prosecution race bias claims 'tremendous promise'"

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Robin Campbell
(212) 376-3172
rcampbell@vera.org

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Mar 9 2010

Wayne McKenzie, director of Vera's Prosecution and Racial Justice Program, spoke at a congressional hearing this week about some of the results of PRJ's work so far in San Diego, CA; Charlotte, NC; and Milwaukee, WI. John Chisholm, Milwaukee County district attorney, spoke about the results of the project in his office: An analysis showed that 73 percent of nonwhite defendants were charged with drug paraphernalia possession but only 59 percent of white defendants were charged. Once the disparity was noted, Chisholm asked staff to strongly consider diverting these defendants to treatment rather than filing charges. Soon, the disparity disappeared.