Brief Racial and Ethnic Disparities Throughout the Criminal Legal System
A Result of Racist Policies and Discretionary Practices
Susan Nembhard, Lily Robin
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Throughout history, the US has created laws that have discriminated against people of color, and as a result, examples of differential treatment on the basis of race can be found throughout the criminal legal system. This brief aims to provide a comprehensive overview of racial disparities at each level of the criminal legal system and highlight how each decision point of the system impacts the next, resulting in continuous, disparate outcomes for people of color. Our findings suggest that in order to address these disparities, researchers must approach their work with appropriately contextualized research questions and an understanding of the language they use. Additionally, researchers should frame reported statistics with the appropriate historical setting, and actively approach research through community engaged methods.

Research Areas Crime, justice, and safety Race and equity
Tags Corrections Courts and sentencing Racial and ethnic disparities Crime and justice analytics Policing and community safety Racial and ethnic disparities in criminal justice
Policy Centers Justice Policy Center