U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Illinois Drug Law Racial Impact Study

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)
Original Solicitation

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2008, $44,717)

The Edward Byrne Memorial Discretionary Grants Program (Byrne Discretionary Program) helps local communities improve the capacity of local justice systems and provides for national support efforts. This project is authorized and funded through a line item in the FY 08 Congressional Budget. Funds should be used for purposes recommended by Congress.

TASC Inc. Center for Health and Justice will evaluate the disproportionate racial impact of Illinois' drug laws. Specifically, they will examine law enforcement and court data to determine what, if any, disproportionate impact there has been in the arrest, prosecution, and sentencing of different racial groups arrested for, charged with, and convicted of these crimes. The state has consistently ranked among the worst states for this issue, with blacks over nine times more likely to be incarcerated than whites. The study will examine such topics as enhancements for sales in drug free school zones, high visibility drug deals in urban areas, three strikes laws, and mandatory minimum sentences. The project will continue the analysis begun on statewide arrest and incarceration statistics, comparison of the state problem within the national context, and examination of the historical changes in the state's drug laws, and will analyze individual-level crimes and statutory provisions. The goal of the project is to reduce any disproportionate racial impact by identifying those laws that result in either prima facie disproportionality or are applied disproportionately to different racial groups. TASC also proposes to design a model by which future legislation can be analyzed for these factors as a result of this study, and to present recommendations to Illinois legislators and justice stakeholders as amendments to laws or their application.


Date Created: August 25, 2008