Research investigating the relationship between race and sentencinghas produced confliciting findings. Although some studies find that racial minorities are sentenced more harshly than whites, others do not. In this study we extend the debate by examining the effect of race/ethnicity and gender on the decision to withhold adjudication. We use data on offenders convicted of felonies in 1993 and 1994 in Dade County (Miami) Circuit Court to test the hypothesis that neither race nor gender would affect the decision to withhold adjudication. The results of our analysis provide only partial support for our hypothesis. Race/ethnicity interacts with gender and with the offender's prior criminal record to influence the decision to withhold adjudication. Among offenders with no prior felony convictions, neither race nor gender was a significant predictor of the decision. Among repeat offenders, on the other hand, Hispanic males, and females in all three racial/ethnic groups, were more likely than black males to have adjudication withheld. Further analysis revealed that the effect of gender was confined to offenders with a prior conviction for a nonviolent offense.
ASJC Scopus subject areas