Research Report Looking Beyond the Sentence
Examining Policy Impacts on Racial Disparities in Federal Sentencing Across Stages and Groups, and Over Time
Mari McGilton, Sabrina Rizk
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Funded by the National Institute of Justice (15PNIJ-21-GG-02817-RESS), we used publicly available federal sentencing data from the US Sentencing Commission to measure racial disparities for multiple race groups and stages of sentencing over time (fiscal years 1999–2021). We (1) measured racial disparities between matched cases across three stages of federal sentencing, represented by two elements each; (2) identified at which points in time the disparities changed significantly using time series plots and structured break analyses; and (3) used this information to systematically review federal policies to identify which might have contributed to significant decreases in racial disparities. In this report, we discuss the study’s purpose, methods, results, and conclusions.

Research Areas Crime, justice, and safety Race and equity
Tags Crime and justice analytics Racial and ethnic disparities Racial and ethnic disparities in criminal justice
Policy Centers Justice Policy Center
Research Methods Data analysis Quantitative data analysis Research methods and data analytics
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