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NCJ Number: NCJ 242297    
Title: Social, Psychological, and Political Causes of Racial Disparities in the American Criminal Justice System (From Crime and Justice: A Review of Research, V 39, P 273-312, 2010, Michael Tonry, ed. - See NCJ-242292)
Author(s): Michael Tonry
Date Published: 2010
Page Count: 40
  Annotation: This essay examines racial, social, and criminal justice in America.
Abstract: Imprisonment rates for Black Americans have long been five to seven times higher than those for White. The immediate causes are well known: high levels of Black imprisonment resulting in part from higher Black than White arrest rates for violent crime and vastly higher Black drug arrest rates. Drug arrest disparities result from police decisions to concentrate attention on drugs Black sell and places where they sell them. Prison disparities are aggravated by laws prescribing sentences of unprecedented severity for offenses for which Blacks are disproportionately arrested. Those practices and policies were shaped by distinctive sociological, psychological, and political features of American race relations. Work on the psychology of American race relations shows that many White Americans resent efforts made to help Black Americans overcome the legacy of racism; that stereotypes of Black criminality support Whites’ attitudes toward drug and crime control policy; and that statistical discrimination, colorism, Afro-American feature bias, and implicit bias cause Black offenders to be treated especially severely. Sociological work on racial stratification shows that Whites support policies that maintain traditional racial hierarchies. Contemporary drug and crime control policies are components of the Republican Southern Strategy, shaped by and exacerbating those phenomena to use crime as a “wedge issue” to appeal to Whites’ racial anxieties and resentments. (Published Abstract)
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Police discretion ; Drug law offenses ; Black/African Americans ; Violent offenders ; Police resource allocation ; Racial discrimination ; Black/White Crime Comparisons
Sale Source: University of Chicago Press
1427 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States of America
Publisher URL: 
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Country: United States of America
Language: English
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