Crack-ing down on black drug offenders? Testing for interactions among offenders' race, drug type, and sentencing strategy in federal drug sentences

Paula Kautt, Cassia Spohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Scopus citations


The interaction between a defendant's race and type of drug has long been argued to affect sentencing for drug offenses. Many assert that blacks receive harsher sentences than do whites merely because of harsher penalties associated with specific drugs. This argument is particularly strong in federal sentencing, where large differences exist in the specified sanctions for the various types of drugs. We analyze the relationship among a defendant's race, sentencing strategy, and drug type net of other theoretically relevant factors. Our findings question previous assumptions regarding this relationship, suggesting that a defendant's race "conditions" the effects of drug and other factors differently from one sentencing strategy to the next.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)X-35
JournalJustice Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2002


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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