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Race and Ethnicity Effects in Federal Sentencing: A Propensity Score Analysis

Race and Ethnicity Effects in Federal Sentencing: A Propensity Score Analysis Research has examined the role of race and ethnicity in the punishment of offenders. Narrative and meta-analytic reviews have indicated that race/ethnicity influences key sentencing outcomes, at least under certain conditions. This research relies almost exclusively on regression-based analyses for determining race and ethnicity effects. While this technique is useful, recent statistical advances may provide more accurate race/ethnicity estimates. The current study employs propensity score analysis to compare punishment outcomes across White, Black, and Hispanic offenders sentenced in US federal courts during the years 2006 through 2008. Results suggest that (a) during the in/out decision the effect of minority status is frequently smaller than that estimated by regression modeling and (b) during the sentence length decision the effect of minority status is frequently larger than that estimated by regression modeling. Consequently, the modeling strategy may produce different conclusions regarding the presence of race- and ethnic-based disparity in sentencing outcomes. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Justice Quarterly Taylor & Francis

Race and Ethnicity Effects in Federal Sentencing: A Propensity Score Analysis

Justice Quarterly , Volume 32 (4): 27 – Jul 4, 2015
27 pages

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References (53)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2013 Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences
ISSN
1745-9109
eISSN
0741-8825
DOI
10.1080/07418825.2013.790990
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Research has examined the role of race and ethnicity in the punishment of offenders. Narrative and meta-analytic reviews have indicated that race/ethnicity influences key sentencing outcomes, at least under certain conditions. This research relies almost exclusively on regression-based analyses for determining race and ethnicity effects. While this technique is useful, recent statistical advances may provide more accurate race/ethnicity estimates. The current study employs propensity score analysis to compare punishment outcomes across White, Black, and Hispanic offenders sentenced in US federal courts during the years 2006 through 2008. Results suggest that (a) during the in/out decision the effect of minority status is frequently smaller than that estimated by regression modeling and (b) during the sentence length decision the effect of minority status is frequently larger than that estimated by regression modeling. Consequently, the modeling strategy may produce different conclusions regarding the presence of race- and ethnic-based disparity in sentencing outcomes.

Journal

Justice QuarterlyTaylor & Francis

Published: Jul 4, 2015

Keywords: sentencing; race; ethnicity; disparity; propensity score

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