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Social Contexts of Racial Discrimination in Sentencing

NCJ Number
Social Problems Volume: 33 Issue: 3 Dated: (February 1986) Pages: 236-251
Date Published
16 pages
This paper seeks to determine whether race differences in sentencing are contingent on who is being sentenced and where that sentencing occurs.
Using data from Georgia, we find that certain legally relevant factors and the racial composition of the county condition the influence of race. However, there is no evidence that blacks are punished more harshly than whites in contexts where their criminality may appear more threatening. Indeed, certain white offenders were treated more harshly than their black counterparts. We conclude with a discussion of the importance of both structural and cultural contexts for understanding the relationship between race and sentencing. (Author abstract)

Date Published: January 1, 1986