Polling and surveys on the topic of racial justice and the courts
CSP Data Governance Special Topic, February 8, 2021
"Since the Civil Rights Movement, the stated purpose of collecting agency data on race and ethnicity has been to document inequality. 1 Courts have an affirmative responsibility to provide justice in a way that is both fair and perceived as accessible and fair for all."
Collecting Race & Ethnicity Data: A Court Statistics Project Data Governance Special Topic, June 24, 2020
As America faces questions related to racial justice, so do courts. In addition to internal needs, courts often receive data requests seeking race and ethnicity data. The National Center's Court Statistics Project sought to address these needs in its latest publication.
Reforming the Grand Jury Indictment Process: Recent Efforts to Improve Public Confidence in Cases Involving Police Use of Lethal Force (2019)
Written by NCSC Staffers Paula Hannaford-Agor, Caisa Royer, Madeline Williams, and Allison Trochesset, this report found that "Widespread publicity about incidents involving police use of lethal force has led to increased public concern that police are not being held adequately accountable by the criminal justice system, beginning with the failure of grand juries to return indictments against police officers suspected of using excessive force."
A survey conducted on behalf of the National Center found a majority of Americans (57 percent) believe the race or ethnicity of a judge has some impact on how they decide cases, but only 22 percent believe it has a major impact. As anticipated, there is a racial gap on this question, with 51 percent of whites seeing some impact (just 14 percent major impact) compared to 76 percent of African Americans (51 percent major impact) and 67 percent of Hispanics (35 percent major impact).
A survey conducted on behalf of the National Center found African-Americans express significantly less faith in the courts than the population as a whole. Seventy-nine percent of African Americans responded they believe African Americans were treated worse than others by the court/justice system. Overall, 49 percent of respondents felt this way. Only 32 percent of African-Americans believe courts provide equal justice to all vs. 57 percent overall.