« Spotlighting the important (and problematic) metrics used by prosecutors | Main | "Vague Comparisons and Proportional Sentencing" »

April 10, 2019

Impressive (and growing) accounting of studies on racial disparities in criminal justice system

In this posting at the Washington Post last year, Radley Balko assembled an extraordinary amount of research on crimianl justice administration under the headline "There’s overwhelming evidence that the criminal-justice system is racist. Here’s the proof." He has an update now posted here, headlined "21 more studies showing racial disparities in the criminal justice system," and it starts this way:

Last September, I put up a post listing more than 120 studies demonstrating racial bias in the criminal-justice system. The studies covered nearly every nook and cranny of our carceral system — from police to prosecutors to prisons; from misdemeanor offenses to the death penalty; from sentencing to parole; and from youth offenses to plea bargaining to clemency.  The post also included nine studies I could find that suggested racial bias was not a factor in some part of the criminal-justice system,

I also asked readers to send me any studies I missed, and I promised that I’d keep the list up to date as new studies came along.  So here is our first update.  I’ll both list the new studies here, and add them to the master list.  As before, if you know of something I’ve missed or are aware of a forthcoming study, please let me know via email.

April 10, 2019 at 01:12 PM | Permalink

Comments

Doug:

Did you see what Balko didn't do?

What of his collection do not, logically, fit into these statistics?

For the White–Black comparisons, the Black level is 12.7 times greater than the White level for homicide, 15.6 times greater for robbery, 6.7 times greater for rape, and 4.5 times greater for aggravated assault.

For the Hispanic- White comparison, the Hispanic level is 4.0 times greater than the White level for homicide, 3.8 times greater for robbery, 2.8 times greater for rape, and 2.3 times greater for aggravated assault.

For the Hispanic–Black comparison, the Black level is 3.1 times greater than the Hispanic level for homicide, 4.1 times greater for robbery, 2.4 times greater for rape, and 1.9 times greater for aggravated assault.

Sharp: As the most common capital murders, those which are death penalty eligible, are rape/murders and robbery/murders, the perceived "disparities" will most likely be even greater than the numbers, above.

"Recent studies suggest a decline in the relative Black effect on violent crime in recent decades and interpret this decline as resulting from greater upward mobility among African Americans during the past several decades."

"However, other assessments of racial stratification in American society suggest at least as much durability as change in Black social mobility since the 1980s."

When correcting for the Hispanic effect:

"Results suggest that little overall change has occurred in the Black share of violent offending in both UCR and NCVS estimates during the last 30 years."

From

REASSESSING TRENDS IN BLACK VIOLENT CRIME, 1980.2008: SORTING OUT THE "HISPANIC EFFECT" IN UNIFORM CRIME REPORTS ARRESTS, NATIONAL CRIME VICTIMIZATION SURVEY OFFENDER ESTIMATES, AND U.S. PRISONER COUNTS, See pages 208-209, FN 5, DARRELL STEFFENSMEIER, BEN FELDMEYER, CASEY T. HARRIS, JEFFERY T. ULMER, Criminology, Volume 49, Issue 1, Article first published online: 24 FEB 2011 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1745-9125.2010.00222.x/pdf

Posted by: Dudley Sharp | Apr 11, 2019 10:24:04 AM

For example, Balko's death penalty section is found to be wanting, by the same standards.

Even worse, Balko, often uses, all murders, instead of capital murders, which we all know, intentionally, skews "interpretation".

It, also, appears that Balko doesn't distinguish between odds multipliers and times, a well known anti death penalty deception, for decades.

Posted by: Dudley Sharp | Apr 11, 2019 10:56:05 AM

Dudley, you should be sure to send your criticisms to Balko. I think he is eager to be rigorous here (though he obviously has a "perspective" when putting together his list, as does anyone who puts together a list).

Posted by: Doug B | Apr 11, 2019 11:04:57 AM

I did

Posted by: Dudley Sharp | Apr 11, 2019 3:15:02 PM

Doug:

The statistics I detailed, above, explain, nearly all Balko's alleged racial disparities.

For a very long time, nearly all police forces have been and should be driven by statistical reviews of violent offenses, which dictate that police are patrolling, much more in black and Hispanic jurisdictions.

As a result of that, necessarily, "disproportionate" police presence, it is guaranteed that there will, also, be disproportionate stops, arrests and convictions for non violent crimes, similar to the violent ones, because that, necessarily, follows enhanced police presence.

That could be avoided by distributing police based upon population density, alone, as opposed to violent crime rates. In that politicaly correct, mode, stops, arrest and convictions would, eventually, even out, between all races/ethnicities, for non violent crimes, to the detriment of those neighborhoods with higher violent crime rates.

If whites and Asians had had crimes rates, per capita, as blacks and Hispanics have had, for 40 years, Balko would be emphasizing their disproportionate stops, arrest and convictions, as the police presence in their neighborhoods would reflect those enhanced violent crime rates and the, necessary, disproportionate presence of police patrols.

Posted by: Dudley Sharp | Apr 11, 2019 3:35:26 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB