Final Paper This is just the instructions given. Its easy, we have already gotten started. I will communicate with you and attach all the necessary documen

Final Paper This is just the instructions given. Its easy, we have already gotten started. I will communicate with you and attach all the necessary documents.
The paper must be 8-10 pages long – DOES NOT include the title page or reference
 Look at the title page on the sample papers on Canvas so you know how to set them up.
 Reference page is to be in APA style, so please make sure to look at the samples on
Canvas or go to THE OWL page at Purdue.
 You can section off the paper into the introduction, literature review, and conclusion
because sometimes it makes it easier to read for the audience.
 The introduction and conclusion SHOULD NOT be any longer than a page.
 You MUST have 5-7 sources for the paper!  4 of these sources MUST BE peer-reviewed,
empirical articles from journal articles.  What I mean by empirical is that the articles were
published by researchers who conducted their own study.  The article would include
methods, data, findings, limitations, and future implications.  The other sources you use
should be appropriate ones (not Wikipedia, etc.) and most students use the source(s) in
the introduction to give a definition, statistic, important fact, etc.  (Essentially the four
empirical sources will make up the body of your literature review.)
 I would recommend looking at the sample papers on Canvas to see how the literature
review can be written.  Some students find it easy to write their review in a chronological
order of when their chosen articles were published, while some students can find a
similar theme among the articles which makes the paper flow easy.
 I have had some students simply copy and paste their article reviews into the final paper
with transitions between the reviews.  Make sure the paper flows when it is read.
 Make sure to re-read your paper for grammatical errors.  Have someone else read the
paper and read it out loud yourself…you will catch mistakes doing these simple checks.
 These final papers will be turned in through, which checks for plagiarism so
MAKE SURE you are putting everything into your own words!
 Failure to follow the page requirements or utilize the appropriate sources will result in a
ZERO for the paper, which means you will have to re-take the course.  In addition, if the
paper is not satisfactory and results in a failing grade, you will fail the course and have to
re-take it next semester.  This course is extremely important because it shows the other
professors your work, so work hard on the paper. Effects of Race 1

Effects of Race/Ethnicity on Sentencing Outcomes

University of Illinois Springfield

An offender’s race/ethnicity is a significant factor that courtroom officials use subtly when determining an individual’s criminal sentencing. The impact of race and ethnicity on sentencing outcomes is an important topic in today’s criminal justice field, because minority defendants have a higher likelihood of receiving prison sentences than whites, and, for those who do receive prison time, their terms in prison are often longer than whites (Walker, Spohn, & DeLone, 2007). Statistics from 2004 concluded that “12.6 percent of African American males, 3.6 percent of Hispanic males, and 1.7 percent of white males in their late 20s were in jail or prison,” with similar trends for females (Walker et al., 2007). In a more recent study, Mauer and King (2007) wrote that the imprisonment proportion for whites, blacks, and Hispanics is 412, 2,290, and 742 per 100,000 citizens, respectively.

Additional research, as discussed below, makes it apparent that an offender’s race/ethnicity does have an effect on the length and severity of his/her sentence. This is important to acknowledge, as racial/ethnic discrimination in our legal system threatens the high importance that we place on providing equal treatment for all races/ethnicities (Steffensmeier & Demuth, 2000). However, in spite of sentencing guidelines to reduce disparity in sentencing for minorities, sometimes sentencing is based on race/ethnicity after these “rules” have been utilized in a case (Everett & Wojtkiewicz, 2002). Although we try to equalize everyone, even with guidelines to pave the way, we still have not achieved equality for all races/ethnicities in the criminal justice system. This literature review thus addresses how race/ethnicity affect sentencing outcomes; how gender may interact with race/ethnicity to affect sentencing; the effect of the misclassification of Hispanics; limitations of the studies conducted; and future policy/research implications.
Literature Review

A common finding among the research analyzed was that race/ethnicity does have an effect on sentencing when combined with other characteristics of the offender and crime committed. Steffensmeier and Demuth (2000) used data from the United States Sentencing Commission that were collected between the years 1993-1996. These data encompassed characteristics of the defendant and the crime that could directly or indirectly influence the severity or duration of the sentence. From these data, it was found that black and Hispanic offenders are sentenced to prison more often and, consequently, have longer prison terms than whites (Steffensmeier & Demuth, 2000). The authors also stated that other characteristics, such as the offender’s previous criminal history and the seriousness of the crime, have an additional effect on sentencing outcomes but are usually more prominently seen among the black and Hispanic community (Steffensmeier & Demuth, 2000).
Another study by Demuth and Steffensmeier in 2004 reinforced the finding that black and Hispanic offenders have a greater probability of imprisonment as their punishment than white offenders, which may be linked to the seriousness of the act or the individual’s prior record. The authors used data that were originally gathered by the State Court Processing Statistics (SCPS) program of the Bureau of Justice Statistics from the years 1990, 1992, 1994, and 1996 to determine this finding. The SCPS program accumulates data every two years from felony offenders in the state courts of the top seventy-five counties with the greatest number of inhabitants. These data include the individual’s race/ethnicity, prior law-breaking record, his or her situation while awaiting trial, negotiations between parties involved, and the imposed punishment (Demuth & Steffensmeier, 2004). Through this research, the authors also deduced that the ethnic background of a defendant plays a main role in the individual’s imprisonment after conviction of a drug crime, while race is the main factor for the imprisonment of a defendant convicted of a property crime (Demuth & Steffensmeier, 2004).
A third study by Kramer and Steffensmeier (1993) also found that race has a lesser effect on sentencing outcomes, while the seriousness of the crime and the offender’s prior record have a greater effect. The data utilized in this research were taken from the Pennsylvania Sentencing Commission, which gathers a single report for every sentence given to an offender in the Pennsylvania courts. Although the Commission is the source for the data, they were first collected by court officials in the Pennsylvania courts based on the requirements of the Pennsylvania sentencing guidelines (Kramer & Steffensmeier, 1993). The authors specifically examined data from the years 1985-1987, which supplied the backgrounds and personal characteristics of the offenders, including their previous criminal record and the brutality of the crime committed (Kramer & Steffensmeier, 1993).
Everett and Wojtkiewicz (2002) similarly deduced that blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans have a greater possibility of being given a more severe sentence than whites, while Asians actually have a lower probability. This difference could be explained by varying crime circumstances, which included the type of crime, whether it was illegal narcotics, financial transgressions, or issues regarding migration from a different country. Other attributes were the geographical area where sentencing was taking place (north, south, east, or west); the offender’s prior record of illegal activity; and the offender’s recognition of being liable for the crime committed (Everett & Wojtkiewicz, 2002). To obtain these findings, the authors utilized data from the Monitoring Database, which was founded by the United States Sentencing Commission. Data in this specific database were trial papers sent to the Sentencing Commission from United States district courts and magistrates. Case data were taken from October 1, 1991 to September 30, 1993. The authors’ findings supported that, even though federal sentencing guidelines were formed to decrease the amount of disparity in criminal sentencing, racial/ethnic bias was still prevalent and could be explained by racial/ethnic discrimination and subsequent attributes related to the crime and offender (Everett & Wojtkiewicz, 2002).

Kansal (2005) also stated that black and Hispanic offenders receive harsher sentences when their prior history and the severity of the crime are taken into consideration. The author found statistical proof of discrimination when sentencing minority offenders. Specifically, Kansal (2005) found that minorities have a higher probability of receiving imprisonment and, if given imprisonment, it tends to be a lengthier sentence than that given to whites. Additional significant findings adversely affecting the sentencing of minority offenders included the effect of pre-trial detention, type of attorney, and the race/ethnicity of the victim (Kansal, 2005). This research also showed that young black and Hispanic males have a greater possibility of receiving an imprisonment sentence than their white counterparts (Kansal, 2005).
Steffensmeier and Demuth (2006) concluded with a similar finding that race/ethnicity does affect the length of punishment for male offenders. In this study, the authors used data that were originally gathered by the State Court Processing Statistics (SCPS) program of the Bureau of Justice Statistics from the years 1990, 1992, 1994, and 1996. Data from the SCPS program are collected from the biggest United States courts and utilized to observe separate and simultaneous results of race/ethnicity and gender on case outcomes (Steffensmeier & Demuth, 2006). Another finding in this research was that female offenders, regardless of color, have a greater probability of not being imprisoned when compared to male offenders. For the females who are imprisoned, Hispanic female offenders have a higher possibility of imprisonment, while white and black female offenders have parallel imprisonment percentages. Overall, the results showed that gender is a significant factor for punishment among every race/ethnicity analyzed, but there is not an important variation between females of Hispanic, black, or white origin (Steffensmeier & Demuth, 2006).

Mauer and King (2007) did agree with Steffensmeier and Demuth (2006) that race/ethnicity effects on the sentencing of women are noticeably less but that they still exist. Conversely, Mauer and King (2007) stated that black females have a greater possibility of becoming imprisoned than white females. This finding is different from the statement made by Steffensmeier and Demuth (2006), who noted that Hispanic women are incarcerated more, with black and white females having very similar imprisonment percentages.

Another determination from the research was the impact of the misclassification of Hispanics as either black or white on sentencing outcomes. Demuth and Steffensmeier (2004) found that when Hispanics were classified as “white,” the variation between black and white imprisonment and the time imposed was altered. This means that when Hispanics are grouped with whites, research shows that black offenders go from being given the most serious imprisonment terms to actually being given lesser sentences than white offenders. This misclassification of Hispanics causes skewed data, which consequently results in the misinterpretation of research findings (Demuth & Steffensmeier, 2004).

In any research conducted, there will be limitations of the study noted by the authors. An important limitation that needs to be stated is the exclusion of some data in each of the research articles used. Steffensmeier and Demuth (2000) excluded data pertaining to female and foreign citizen offenders. Similarly, Demuth and Steffensmeier (2004) only utilized data exclusively from males in counties where there were large percentages of white, black, or Hispanic offenders (females and other races/ethnicities are not incorporated because of low case occurrences). In another study conducted by Steffensmeier and Demuth in 2006, the authors again limited their statistics to solely represent male and female offenders of white, black, and Hispanic origin, leaving out other races/ethnicities because of small case numbers. Kramer and Steffensmeier (1993) only used data gathered from defendants who were found guilty of the committed crime, and Everett and Wojtkiewicz (2002) removed some data based on missing information pertaining to the final amount of time imprisoned. Everett and Wojtkiewicz (2002) also excluded data that was absent for the least/most time that an offender could be sentenced, based on the continuum given by the sentencing guidelines.

Other limitations stated in the research articles all pertain to issues regarding the collection of the data by the appropriate sources. Steffensmeier and Demuth (2000) noted that data were only analyzed from sentences on individuals already found guilty, since it is difficult for government sources to gather information in the first stages of a trial. Demuth and Steffensmeier (2004) stated that data used from different government agencies sometimes fell short when evaluating the effects of ethnicity on sentencing outcomes, because Hispanics were usually grouped within the “white” or “black” race. Steffensmeier and Demuth (2006) noted that the main limitation of their research was that great amounts of data collected by different agencies do not include figures on the social class or interaction with relatives of the offender, which can have a significant influence on the combined results of race/ethnicity and gender. Kramer and Steffensmeier (1993) gave two limitations of their study, which were (1) that other professionals in the field have argued that the race of the offender may not be significant in case verdicts, because of the importance of the race/ethnicity of both the defendant and the innocent individual(s); and, (2) that a single state’s data were used as the crux of the research. Everett and Wojtkiewicz (2002) stated that an important limitation of their study was that some offender and offense characteristics not accounted for could possibly affect the research findings, as determining the role of every attribute is highly complicated.

Many policy and future implications were discussed in the research articles used in this literature review. Both Steffensmeier and Demuth (2000) and Demuth and Steffensmeier (2004) stated that future research should take a more conscientious approach to correctly recognize what issues directly influence the punishment given to Hispanic offenders. Demuth and Steffensmeier (2004) also noted that future research needs to concentrate on: (1) the offender’s ethnicity, as well as race, when reporting offense punishments and especially when investigating the disparity between black-white case verdicts; and, (2) the specific form of illegal substance and participation in the business of this substance when studied among white, black, and Hispanic defendants.
Steffensmeier and Demuth (2006) stated that, for the future, researchers should: (1) include new reports on imprisonment when gender and ethnicity are incorporated; (2) examine how individuals who work in the courts pass judgment on the punishment of offenders; and (3) conduct more research on only one specific area at a time, instead of combining several areas, which can lead to simplification of the facts. Kramer and Steffensmeier (1993) noted that Pennsylvania’s sentencing guidelines may have diminished the role of an offender’s race in case outcomes, but there have actually been more blacks imprisoned since the guidelines’ formation. Future policy implications to solve this problem include limiting the function of race in sentencing decisions and establishing ways to decrease the severity of offenses committed by black individuals (Kramer & Steffensmeier, 1993).
Implications for policy and future research, as stated by Everett and Wojtkiewicz (2002), include using the seriousness of the crime and the prior record of the convicted as important features when setting a sentence based on the federal sentencing guidelines. The authors also stated that a more hands-on approach, examination of the different races/ethnicities, and investigation of the role of the convicted in the courtroom would be great advantages for studying sentencing (Everett & Wojtkiewicz, 2002).
Summary and Conclusion

Through this literature review, multiple research articles on the effects of race/ethnicity on the sentencing of criminal offenders have been considered. There are many conclusions among the articles, but each one supports that race/ethnicity does have an effect on the type and severity of sentencing imposed on the convicted. Steffensmeier and Demuth (2000) and Demuth and Steffensmeier (2004) found that Hispanic and black offenders both have a higher possibility of imprisonment and longer prison terms than white offenders. Conversely, research conducted by Steffensmeier and Demuth (2006) found that between female and male offenders, Hispanic offenders were actually given lesser incarceration periods, while white and black offenders were given intermediate and lengthier periods, respectively. This finding is also supported by Kansal (2005), who states that black and Hispanics do have a higher likelihood of being given a more severe and lengthier sentence than whites.
Kramer and Steffensmeier (1993) found that black offenders have a higher possibility of being sentenced to jail/prison and given longer terms than their white counterparts. Everett and Wojtkiewicz (2002) correspondingly found that crime circumstances combined with race have a substantial effect on the type and duration of sentence for blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Asians. Kramer and Steffensmeier (1993) and Everett and Wojtkiewicz (2002) also made a second similar finding that, even though sentencing guidelines were made to decrease the amount of disparity in the sentencing of offenders, there is still disparity related to race/ethnicity and sentencing after the application of the guidelines.
The effect of race/ethnicity on the sentencing outcomes of minority offenders has resulted in a disproportionate percentage of minorities residing in United States correctional facilities (Mauer & King, 2007). An offender’s race/ethnicity is a characteristic that should not be used when determining sentencing. Use of race/ethnicity to decide punishment is a violation of an individual’s equal rights and shows how the United States government can still discriminate against those of color.
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