U.S. flag

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

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

An Analysis of Black-White Racial Differences in Public Support for Nonviolent Sentencing Reform

NCJ Number
Race and Justice Volume: 10 Issue: 4 Dated: 2020 Pages: 456-479
K. H. Wozniak
Date Published
24 pages

I examine public support for sentencing reform for nonviolent offenders situated within a justice reinvestment context. 



I analyze data from a survey administered to a nationally representative sample of White and Black Americans. I pay particular attention to differences in support between the two races, and I analyze the degree to which ideological beliefs explain interracial differences. I find that a larger number of both Black and White people support, rather than oppose, sentencing property and drug offenders to community-based sanctions instead of prison, but the likelihood that a person will express support or opposition is related to several ideological beliefs and demographic characteristics. I find that racism and the belief that the criminal justice system is fair mediate the relationship between race and support for sentencing property offenders to community-based sanctions, but race continues to exert an independent effect in regard to sentencing drug offenders. (Publisher abstract provided)