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

Looking Beyond the Sentence: Research Summary

NCJ Number
Mari McGilton ; Olivia Stuart
Date Published
January 2023
5 pages

This summary provides a short synopsis of a research study that used publicly available federal sentencing data from the U.S. Sentencing Commission to measure racial disparities for multiple race groups and stages of sentencing over time, from 1999 to 2021.


The authors of this research summary provide an overview of the longer report on their findings from a study of publicly available sentencing data to measure racial disparities for multiple race groups and stages of sentencing, from 1999 to 2021. The authors give a background of their research project, describe the methodology, summarize the research results, and make recommendations for policymakers and researchers, before listing references. This research project’s purpose was to identify and address racial disparities at all points in the criminal legal system. The authors also sought to identify which policies, including legislation, U.S. Attorney General directives, Supreme Court rulings, amendments to the U.S. federal sentencing guidelines, were likely to have most impacted significant decreases in racial disparities.