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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 204620 Find in a Library
Title: Racial and Ethnic Differences in Pretrial Release Decisions and Outcomes: A Comparison of Hispanic, Black, and White Felony Arrestees
Journal: Criminology  Volume:41  Issue:3  Dated:August 2003  Pages:873-908
Author(s): Stephen Demuth
Editor(s): Robert J. Bursik Jr.
Date Published: August 2003
Page Count: 36
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Using felony defendant data collected in large urban courts by the State Court Processing Statistics (SCPS) program of the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics for the years 1990, 1992, 1994, and 1996, this study examined gaps in prior research to determine whether there are Hispanic-Black-White differences at the pretrial release stage.
Abstract: Regarding the effects of race and ethnicity on judicial decisions and defendant outcomes at earlier stages of the criminal case process prior to sentencing, knowledge is limited, limited to the treatment of different racial and ethnic groups in the criminal courts based on the impact of race at the sentencing stage. This study examined the effect of race and ethnicity on pretrial release among White, Black, and Hispanic defendant groups using individual-level data compiled, biennially by the State Court Processing Statistics (SCPS) program of the Bureau of Justice Statistics on the procession of a sample of formally charged felony defendants in the State courts of the Nation’s 75 most populous counties in 1990, 1992, 1994, and 1996. The study conducted a multiple regression analysis examining the effects of race and ethnicity and other extralegal and legal factors on pretrial release decisionmaking and outcomes and examined the pretrial release as a process comprising several intermediate, contingent dimensions or states. The study also attempted to determine whether racial/ethnic differences in pretrial detention existed among violent, property, and drug offenses. Study findings show a general pattern of Hispanic disadvantage across all stages of the pretrial release process. Hispanic defendants were more likely to be denied bail, more likely to have to pay bail to gain release, required to pay higher amounts of bail, and more likely to be held on bail. This was consistent with a growing body of research that show Hispanic disadvantage throughout the criminal case process. The study suggests that Hispanics are more likely to encounter criminal stereotypes and are less likely to have the resources to avoid the imposition of negative labels. These findings indicate the continued importance of racial and ethnic stratification in United States society. References
Main Term(s): Pretrial release
Index Term(s): Americans; Black/African Americans; Ethnic groups; Hispanic Americans; Judicial decisions; Judicial discretion; Mexican Americans; Minority overrepresentation; Race-punishment relationship; Racial discrimination
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