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  NCJ Number: NCJ 224179     Find in a Library
  Title: Revisiting Hubert Blalock's Power Threat Theory to Determine Its Effect on Court Workgroup Behavior as it Concerns Structured Sentencing
  Author(s): Madhava Bodapati ; James F. Anderson ; Tarus E. Brinson
  Journal: Criminal Justice Studies: A Critical Journal of Crime, Law and Society  Volume:21  Issue:2  Dated:June 2008  Pages:109 to 134
  Date Published: 06/2008
  Page Count: 26
  Annotation: This study examined disparities in structured sentencing decisions made in three distinct regions of North Carolina through the revisiting of Huber Blalock’s (1960s) power threat theory.
  Abstract: The data analysis indicates that the seriousness of the charges determines the number of charges against the defendant. Defendants with the largest number of felonies and higher numbers of charges that matched their worst charge were the defendants with a larger number of charges against them. The defendant’s race and socioeconomic demographics of the county in which the case was processed had lesser influence on the number of charges. Racial differences, however, indicate that being an African-American defendant increased the number of charges filed, while being a White defendant was not significant. Geographical region was not significant in the pre-sentencing structure (SS) dataset, however, in the post-SS dataset, the Piedmont region had a greater reduction in the number of charges brought against the defendant. The analysis thus indicates that an increase in the number of charges brought against the defendant is linked to the seriousness of charges. The significance of racial variables, however, support the argument that racial disparity could be found and remain consistent for both before and after implementation of the 1994 SS reform, as indicated by higher number of charges filed against African-Americans. The purpose of this paper is to revisit Hubert Blalock’s power threat theory to explain the disparate treatment that African-American defendants receive in the justice system. In 1967, Hubert Blalock presented the power threat theory which holds that the majority population imposes punitive sanctions on its minority citizens when it believes the minority has evolved into a threat to the existing social order, especially in the areas of social, political, and economic resources. The paper addresses a neglected aspect of justice research, that is, the dynamics of courtroom workgroups and how they impact structured sentencing. Tables and references
  Main Term(s): Sentencing disparity
  Index Term(s): Sociology ; Minorities ; Black/African Americans ; Racial discrimination ; Sentencing trends ; Minority overrepresentation ; Race-punishment relationship
  Publisher URL: 
  Type: Research (Theoretical)
  Country: United States of America
  Language: English
  To cite this abstract, use the following link:

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