This chapter presents four theories that hypothesize race/ethnicity disparities in sentence outcomes. Empirical studies assessing the relationship between defendant’s race/ethnicity and sentence severity are discussed.
I focus on federal sentencing in terms of support or non-support of the theoretical perspectives.
Sentence disparity linked to defendant’s race/ethnicity are observed as net main effects, as a component in joint-conditioning effects with other extralegal defendant characteristics, and as a variable that conditions the effect of process-related mechanism of discretion, and legally relevant case characteristics, and as indirect effects.
Theories share substantial conceptual overlap in specifying the relationship between defendant’s race/ethnicity and predictions of the effect of defendant’s race/ethnicity on sentence severity.
Albonetti, C.A. (2017), "Theoretical Perspectives and Empirical Assessments of Race/Ethnicity Disparities in Federal Sentencing", Race, Ethnicity and Law (Sociology of Crime, Law and Deviance, Vol. 22), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 95-114. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1521-613620170000022009
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