Racial Disparities in Incarceration Increase Acceptance of Punitive Policies

  title={Racial Disparities in Incarceration Increase Acceptance of Punitive Policies},
  author={Rebecca C Hetey and J. Eberhardt},
  journal={Psychological Science},
  pages={1949 - 1954}
During the past few decades, punitive crime policies have led to explosive growth in the United States prison population. Such policies have contributed to unprecedented incarceration rates for Blacks in particular. In this article, we consider an unexamined relationship between racial disparities and policy reform. Rather than treating racial disparities as an outcome to be measured, we exposed people to real and extreme racial disparities and observed how this drove their support for harsh… Expand

Topics from this paper

Racial Divisions and Criminal Justice: Evidence from Southern State Courts
The US criminal justice system is exceptionally punitive. We test whether racial heterogeneity is one cause, exploiting cross-jurisdiction variation in criminal justice practices in four SouthernExpand
A recent National Academy of Sciences Report entitled, ‘‘The growth of incarceration in the United States: Exploring causes and consequences,’’ examined the drivers of the fourfold increase inExpand
American Punitiveness and Mass Incarceration: Psychological Perspectives on Retributive and Consequentialist Responses to Crime
A recent National Academy of Sciences Report explored the drivers of the fourfold increase in incarceration rates in the United States and provided a firm recommendation for significant reduction inExpand
The Effect of Exposure to Racialized Cues on White and Black Public Support for Justice Reinvestment
Abstract Racial priming theory predicts that exposure to racialized cues causes whites to express stronger opposition to social policies designed to ameliorate racial disparities. This study usesExpand
The Numbers Don’t Speak for Themselves: Racial Disparities and the Persistence of Inequality in the Criminal Justice System
Many scholars and activists assume the public would be motivated to fight inequality if only they knew the full extent of existing disparities. Ironically, exposure to extreme disparities can causeExpand
#BlackLivesDon'tMatter: race-of-victim effects in US executions, 1976–2013
This paper examines the role of racial bias in the implementation of capital punishment. First, our analysis of existing literature confirms higher rates of capital punishment for those who killExpand
The End of an Era? Understanding the Contradictions of Criminal Justice Reform
Recent drops in the U.S. rate of incarceration have triggered much discussion regarding the fate of mass incarceration. Some observers suggest that the political consensus in favor of getting toughExpand
The Misperception of Racial Economic Inequality
Drawing on prior research and new evidence from a nationally representative sample of adults, compelling evidence is offered that Americans vastly underestimate racial economic inequality, especially the racial wealth gap. Expand
Disrupting Beliefs in Racial Progress: Reminders of Persistent Racism Alter Perceptions of Past, But Not Current, Racial Economic Equality
In two studies, attempts are made to improve the accuracy of Whites’ perceptions of racial progress and estimates of contemporary racial economic equality and to challenge narratives of American racial progress. Expand
The Effect of Message Frames on Public Attitudes Toward Criminal Justice Reform for Nonviolent Offenses
Results from ordinal logistic regression models suggest that message frames that appeal to a respondent’s self-interest or emphasize the unfairness of the punishment tend to be most effective. Expand


The police officer's dilemma: using ethnicity to disambiguate potentially threatening individuals.
Using a simple videogame, the effect of ethnicity on shoot/don't shoot decisions was examined and showed that the magnitude of bias varied with perceptions of the cultural stereotype and with levels of contact, but not with personal racial prejudice. Expand
Population Growth in U. S. Prisons, 1980-1996
Over the full period, the growth in state incarceration for nondrug offenses is attributable entirely to sentencing increases: 42 percent to commitments per arrest and 58 percent to time-served increases. Expand
`Suitable Enemies'
In 1989, for the ®rst time in history, the majority of the population consigned to prisons in the United States was black. As a result of the decade-long `War on Drugs' waged by the federalExpand
Differential social perception and attribution of intergroup violence: testing the lower limits of sterotyping of blacks.
  • B. Duncan
  • Medicine
  • Journal of personality and social psychology
  • 1976
In a modified 4 X 4 factorial design with race (black-white) of the harm-doer and race (black-white) of the victim as the major factors, the phenomenon of differential social perception of intergroupExpand
Lifetime likelihood of going to state or federal prison.
This report presents data on the lifetime likelihood of a US resident being incarcerated in a state or federal prison. The hypothetical measure used in the analysis is based on the assumption thatExpand
The High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration
We use Bureau of Justice Statistics data to estimate that, in 2008, the United States had between 12 and 14 million ex-offenders of working age. Because a prison record or felony conviction greatlyExpand
Looking Deathworthy
Controlling for a wide array of factors, it is found that in cases involving a White victim, the more stereotypically Black a defendant is perceived to be, themore likely that person is to be sentenced to death. Expand
Unfair by Design: The War on Drugs, Race, and the Legitimacy of the Criminal Justice System
a common element in discussions of what makes the united States unique is readily conveyed by the phrase “the American Dream.” While an exact definition of this concept eludes us, widely acceptedExpand
Prejudice and perception: the role of automatic and controlled processes in misperceiving a weapon.
  • B. Payne
  • Psychology, Medicine
  • Journal of personality and social psychology
  • 2001
Two experiments used a priming paradigm to investigate the influence of racial cues on the perceptual identification of weapons and found the motivation to control prejudice moderated the relationship between explicit prejudice and automatic bias. Expand
Seeing black: race, crime, and visual processing.
Using police officers and undergraduates as participants, the authors suggest that some associations between social groups and concepts are bidirectional and operate as visual tuning devices--producing shifts in perception and attention of a sort likely to influence decision making and behavior. Expand