Race, Inequality, and Criminal Justice Policy
Friday, Jan. 4, 2019 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM
- Chair: Michelle Holder, City University of New York-John Jay College
The Child Left Behind: Parental Incarceration and Adult Human Capital in the US
AbstractParental incarceration can be not only a huge economic shock to the family but also a source of psychological stress on family members. The effects of this stress may be long-lasting. Neuroscientists and psychiatrists describe how chronic stress in childhood may impair cognitive development. Exposure to parental incarceration is particularly prevalent in the United States, where over 8 percent of children have lived with a parent who was incarcerated during their childhood. In this paper, I investigate whether incarceration has long-term human capital consequences on children in the US. I provide evidence at the population level that parental incarceration causes lower rates of high school diploma receipt and likely causes lower rates of full-time employment in young adulthood. This work adds to the body of evidence documenting an intergenerational transmission of socioeconomic disadvantage and has important implications for social policy. Within the education system, results might motivate improved support for children’s socio-emotional health.
Does Race Matter? Implications from Court-ordered Police Hiring Quotas and Police Killings of Civilians
AbstractMcCrary (2007) showed that court-ordered hiring quotas increased the number of African Americans hired in litigated cities, however, was unable to provide any insight of how diversity or the lack thereof may impact police performance. Recent events have highlighted the importance of diversity as it relates to community-police relations and the police shooting of civilians. Our analysis seeks to study the effects of diversity on police killings of civilians. Preliminary results provide little evidence that diversity, as it relates to the composition of the police force, reduces policing killings of non-white civilians in the long-run. However, we do find that litigation itself is associated with an immediate transitory increase in police killings of non-white civilians. We are unable to uncover such an effect for white residents.
Mandatory Minimum Reform, Race, and Recidivism
AbstractBirthed from the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, mandatory minimum laws were implemented to penalize trafficking of drugs in quantities exceeding certain thresholds. Despite being of similar pharmacological composition, powder and crack cocaine had considerably different quantity thresholds for triggering eligibility for mandatory minimum sentences. This disparate treatment of powder and crack cocaine offenses lead to conspicuous racial disparities in drug sentences. Specifically, blacks who were disproportionately convicted of crack cocaine offenses, received much longer sentences than white counterparts convicted of similar powder cocaine offenses. As such, several civil rights groups called for urgent reforms to mandatory minimum legislation. Over the last twenty years, numerous states as well as the federal government enacted mandatory minimum reforms to reduce sentencing disparities between blacks and whites. At the federal level, the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 aimed to reduce the racial sentencing gap between powder and crack cocaine offenses. However, we do not know how effective these reforms have been at the state level. Using rich administrative data on defendant information, along with quasi-experimental methods, the study evaluates the impact of mandatory minimum reforms on racial disparities in drug sentences. Notwithstanding, critics will undoubtedly argue that sentencing reforms inadvertently encourage crime and recidivism. If shorter sentences reduce the cost of crime, criminal recidivism may increase in response to these reforms. To address this concern, the study also measures the impact of mandatory minimum reforms on criminal recidivism.
The Determinants of Declining Racial Disparities in Female Incarceration Rates, 2000-2015
AbstractIn The Growth of Incarceration in the United States, the National Research Council documents the large and persistent racial disparities in imprisonment that accompanied the more than quadrupling in the U.S. incarceration rate since the 1980s. But since the turn of the 21st century, an unprecedented decrease in the number of African American women incarcerated has occurred at the same time that the number of white women in prison grew to new heights. The result of these changes is a near convergence in the black-white female incarceration rates from 2000-2015. In some states, the changes occurred abruptly and almost instantaneously. In other states, the convergence has been gradual. But, overall, the wide gaps in black-white female incarceration rates evident at the end of the last century have diminished considerably by the first decades of the 21st century.
- J1 - Demographic Economics
- K4 - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior