Senator Vincent Hughes

Harrisburg, PA – June 12, 2023 –Senator Vincent Hughes applauded the advancement of House Bill 1188 from the House Judiciary Committee. The bill, sponsored by Representative Chris Rabb, provides Pennsylvania legislators the ability to request demographic impact statements for proposed legislation.  

Senator Hughes’ originally introduced SB 79 in the Senate to call for impact statements that would enable lawmakers to make more informed decisions on how proposed changes to criminal offenses or sentencing laws could impact the racial and ethnic composition of our criminal offender population and the juvenile court system.

“This is a good step toward facilitating more informed, data driven decision making as part of the broader solution to help address the overrepresentation of minorities in the criminal justice system and the size of the criminal offender population as a whole,” said Senator Hughes. “I applaud the House Judiciary Committee for taking this important action.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections reports Black Pennsylvanians are six times as likely to be under DOC control as their white counterparts. And overall, Black and Hispanic individuals comprise nearly half of the state inmate population while representing only one-fifth of Pennsylvania’s total population.

Both pieces of legislation call for impact statements that are in line with the Commonwealth’s revised approach of being smarter, rather than tougher, on crime.