Racial Disparity in Federal Criminal Sentences

  title={Racial Disparity in Federal Criminal Sentences},
  author={M. Marit Rehavi and Sonja B. Starr},
  journal={Journal of Political Economy},
  pages={1320 - 1354}
Using rich data linking federal cases from arrest through to sentencing, we find that initial case and defendant characteristics, including arrest offense and criminal history, can explain most of the large raw racial disparity in federal sentences, but significant gaps remain. Across the distribution, blacks receive sentences that are almost 10 percent longer than those of comparable whites arrested for the same crimes. Most of this disparity can be explained by prosecutors’ initial charging… Expand
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