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Multilevel Test of Minority Threat Effects on Sentencing

NCJ Number
Journal of Quantitative Criminology Volume: 26 Issue: 2 Dated: June 2010 Pages: 191-215
Xia Wang; Daniel P. Mears
Date Published
June 2010
25 pages
This paper explores whether differenct measures of racial and ethnic threats influence jail versus prison sentencing decisions.
Prior studies of criminal sanctioning have focused almost exclusively on individual-level predictors of sentencing outcomes. However, in recent years, scholars have begun to include social context in their research. Building off of this workand heeding calls for testing the racial and ethnic minority threat perspective within a multilevel framework and for separating prison and jail sentences as distinct outcomesthis paper examines different dimensions of minority threat and explores whether they exert differential effects on prison versus jail sentences. The findings provide support for the racial threat perspective, and less support for the ethnic threat perspective. They also underscore the importance of testing for non-linear threat effects and for separating jail and prison sentences as distinct outcomes. The authors discuss the findings and their implications for theory, research, and policy. Tables, figures, appendixes, and references (Published Abstract)