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NCJ Number: 183957 Find in a Library
Title: Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System: A Summary (From Public Policy, Crime, and Criminal Justice, Second Edition, P 81-96, 2000, Barry W. Hancock and Paul M. Sharp, eds. -- See NCJ-183970)
Author(s): Joan Petersilia
Date Published: 2000
Page Count: 16
Sponsoring Agency: Prentice-Hall, Inc
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
Sale Source: Prentice-Hall, Inc
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
United States of America
Type: Collected Work
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Data were obtained from official records and prisoner self-reports to assess racial discrimination in the criminal justice system in California, Michigan, and Texas.
Abstract: Data came from two sources, the California Offender-Based Transaction Statistics (OBTS) for 1980 and the Rand Inmate Survey (RIS). The OBTS is a computerized system maintained by the California Bureau of Criminal Statistics to track offenders from arrest through sentencing. The RIS consists of data obtained from self-administered questionnaires completed by 1,380 male inmates in California, Michigan, and Texas in 1978. Data revealed some racial differences in the handling of offenders by the criminal justice system but few statistically significant racial differences in the criminal behavior of active offenders. OBTS data revealed an interesting pattern in California. At the front end of the criminal justice process, the criminal justice system seemed to treat white offenders more severely and minority offenders (blacks and Hispanics) more leniently. At the back end of the criminal justice process, the reverse appeared to be true. White suspects were somewhat more likely than minority suspects to be arrested on warrant and considerably less likely to be released without charges. Whites were also more likely than minorities to have felony charges filed. Once charged, offenders of all races had about the same chance of being convicted of a felony, but white defendants were more likely than minority defendants to be convicted by plea bargain. In contrast, minority defendants were more likely than white defendants to have their felony cases tried by jury. RIS data indicated race made in a difference in all three States, controlling for defendant age, conviction crime, and prior record. Additional information is provided on length of sentence served, crime rates and probability of arrest, criminal motivation, weapon use, prison behavior, disparities in case processing, sentencing and parole, and indicators of recidivism. Implications of the findings for research and policy are discussed. 8 references, 5 notes, 3 tables, and 1 figure
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Black/African Americans; Black/White Crime Comparisons; California; Caucasian/White Americans; Hispanic Americans; Male offenders; Michigan; Minorities; Race-crime relationships; Racial discrimination; Sentencing disparity; Texas
Note: Reprinted from Joan Petersilia, "Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System: A Summary." Crime and Delinquency (Vol. 3, No. 1), pp. 15-34, Sage Publications, Inc.
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