Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 24 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Issues of racial and ethnic disparity in the criminal justice system continues to provoke controversy and spark debate. It is clear that the overt discrimination that characterized the criminal justice system in the first half of the 20th Century is a thing of the past. Reforms mandated by appellate courts or adopted voluntarily by state and federal governments have made it less likely that criminal justice officials treat similarly situated defendants of different races differently. Despite these reforms, inequities persist. There is convincing empirical evidence that defendant race and ethnicity affect decisions regarding bail, charging, plea bargaining, and sentencing. Although research documents the persistence of inequalities at all stages of court processing, the most compelling evidence comes from studies of capital sentencing, which consistently reveals that the race of the victim—and to a lesser extent the race of the offender—plays a key role in determining who will be sentenced to death. A number of steps can be taken to address this issue, including reducing the size of the prison population and subjecting crime control proposals to a racial and ethnic disparity impact analyses.

Keywords: racial discrimination, prosecution, sentencing, death penalty

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.