Study of Hispanic Outcomes in U.S. Federal Courts

Matthew Atherton, The Pennsylvania State University

Building upon the earlier work of Steffensmeier, Demuth and others, this project expands the examination of racial and ethnic effects on sentencing, specifically the relationship between different racial groups within the overarching category of Hispanics. Previous research has shown disparities within Federal Courts and State level in regards to the sentencing (chance of conviction and sentence length) of Hispanic, White and African American offenders. The goal of this project is to fill some holes in the sentencing literature, by expanding the focus and scope of previous analyses. The analysis will be expanded in several ways. First the Hispanic category will be analyzed in more detail by separating black and White Hispanics. Also by matching court districts to census data, this study will look at sentencing outcomes for specific ethnic groups (Mexican, Puerto Rican and Cuban). In addition outcomes will be looked out in the context of different districts in order to see to what degree the context of location may effect sentencing outcomes. By using recent Federal Sentencing Data from 1996 through 2000, this study will extend previous work by allowing for analysis or recent trends as well as long term trends.

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Updated 05/20/2006