skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 90056 Find in a Library
Title: Discrimination and the Decision To Incarcerate
Author(s): B C Frederick; S E Zimmerman
Corporate Author: New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
Office of Program Development and Research
United States of Ameri
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 34
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
Albany, NY 12203
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Study findings indicate that the racially discriminatory impact of incarceration in the suburban and upstate regions of New York State cannot be fully explained by prior record, age, sex, crime type, statutory class, and charge degradation.
Abstract: The study examined the decision to incarcerate in 11,098 cases involving probation-eligible offenders convicted of felony offenses in New York State during 1980. Cases in which imprisonment was mandatory were excluded from the analyses. Analyses were conducted separately for the three regions of New York City, the suburban area of New York City, and upstate New York. The influence of race on the decision to incarcerate was determined by using statistical procedures that defined defendants who were similarly situated on the factors of prior record, age, sex, crime type, statutory class, and charge degradation. The differences in incarceration rates among racial/ethnic groups were small in New York City, but the disproportionality was substantial in other areas of the State. New York City judges incarcerated about half of the white Hispanic defendants and 55 percent of the blacks. Blacks were 13 percentage points more likely than whites to be incarcerated in the suburban area and 17 percentage points more likely to be incarcerated upstate. The independent effect of race, when simultaneously controlling for prior record, age, sex, crime type, statutory class, and charge degradation, was less than the overall disproportionality; however, in both the suburban and upstage regions, being black still increased the changes of being incarcerated to a large and statistically significant degree. Other potentially important factors such as weapons use, injury to victims, and pretrial detention were not available for study. If influential factors not included in the study correlate with minority status, then some of the disproportionality due to the omitted factors will have been attributed to minority status. Tabular data, 30 footnotes, and 17 bibliographic entries are provided. (Author summary modified)
Index Term(s): New York; Racial discrimination; Sentencing disparity; Sentencing/Sanctions
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.