Race, Sentencing, and the Pretrial Process

Past studies have indicated that racial disparity arises from judicial decisions at sentencing; however I debate that racial disparity may begin at the pretrial stage. First, studies have regularly shown a potential discriminatory link between race/ethnicity and incarceration. Next, other studies have indicated that minorities will tend to be assigned a high bail, less likely to afford that bail, and more likely to be detained pretrial. Ultimately, recent reports have additionally indicated that pretrial detention may lead straight to more guilty pleas and a higher probability of incarceration. I predict that accounting for pretrial outcome will reduce the affect of race on the probability of incarceration at the conviction stage. I reason that utilizing a sample of indicted individuals (opposed to convicted offenders) is suitable strategy in type of research. I find that the impact of race on sentencing outcome is lowered when pretrial outcomes are part of the model….

Contents: Race, Sentencing, and the Pretrial Process

Previous Research
Racial Disparity in Incarceration
Ethnicity is Essential
Racial Disparity at Sentencing: Early Studies Found Mixed Results
Recent Research: Supporting Claim of Racial Disparity at Sentencing
Theoretical Perspective: Focal Concerns
“Convicted Sample” May Obscure Part of the Story
Demonstrated Link Between Pretrial and Sentencing
Focal Concerns Earlier in Process: Disparity Exists at Pretrial
Putting it all Together: Race/Ethnicity, Sentencing, and the Pretrial Process
Convicted Sample
Indicted Sample
Convicted Sample
Indicted Sample
Limitations and Strengths
Empirical Contributions
Policy Implications
Future Research

Source: University of Maryland

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