RACIAL AND ETHNIC DISPARITIES AMONG FEMALE OFFENDERS ADJUDICATED IN FEDERAL COURTS: Explicating the Patterns of Disparities Using a Path Model

Cassia C. Spohn, Pauline K. Brennan, Byungbae Kim

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although there is a substantial body of scholarship that tests for racial disparities in sentencing outcomes, there is relatively little research that focuses explicitly on whether African American and Hispanic female offenders are sentenced differently than white female offenders. In this chapter, we use path analysis to test for direct and indirect effects of offender race/ethnicity on the sentences imposed on female offenders in federal courts. In addition, we examine whether crime type moderates the effects of race/ethnicity. Our findings indicated that Hispanic females received harsher sentences than white females as a result of a higher likelihood of pre-sentencing detention and a lower likelihood of receiving substantial assistance departures. Further analyses revealed that some of these results were more pronounced with Hispanic female offenders convicted of drug offenses. These results illustrate the complexities inherent in attempts to specify the effects that race and ethnicity have in the sentencing process and highlight the importance of cumulative disadvantage in examinations of sentencing disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook on Punishment Decisions
Subtitle of host publicationLocations of Disparity
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Pages211-237
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9781315410364
ISBN (Print)9781138221475
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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