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Monday, February 17, 2020

Rhode Island settles with U.S. after 2014 suit regarding Department of Corrections entrance exams

By Mark Iandolo | Oct 4, 2017

General court 09

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Legal Newsline) - Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and A.T. Wall, director of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections (DOC), announced Sept. 19 that the state has settled with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) over a 2014 Justice Department lawsuit regarding DOC entrance exams.

The DOJ alleged the DOC’s entrance exams created an adverse impact on African-American and Hispanic applicants for entry-level correctional officer positions. The DOJ sought injunctive relief and relief for African-Americans and Hispanics who failed the entrance exams for the years 2000 to 2013.

"We believe that this settlement agreement is a fair resolution to this case and is in the best interest of the state financially,” Kilmartin said. “It protects the state's interest in hiring qualified candidates for the position of correctional officer. While there is a financial component to the settlement, the cost is small compared to the costs we would incur with continued litigation."

Rhode Island agreed to change its hiring practices for the DOC, and also agreed to hire on a priority basis the 37 of the 2,639 African Americans and Hispanic who did not pass the tests.

"The settlement reaffirms the DOC's continued commitment to diversifying its ranks,” Wall said.

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Rhode Island Office of the Attorney General