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Cultural Diversity and Criminal Justice

            Over the past century, significant efforts have been made to understand the effects of race on criminal justice processing and sentencing. As a result of this research, sentencing policies have undergone numerous periods of reform. Yet, racial disparities in sentencing outcomes and incarceration rates continue to give rise to serious questions about how and through what processes race continues to affect sentencing outcomes. In this essay, we will review the scholarly research on race and sentencing, and discuss a number of important sentencing reforms that have taken place in the U.S. over the past three decades in response to evidence of disparate racial treatment and to pressure from advocates for reform. .
             Following widespread sentencing reforms, such as the adoption of federal and state sentencing guidelines, researchers have continued to examine the complex role of race in the sentencing process. In addition to reviewing empirical research, we will also explore theoretical frameworks that can be used to understand differences in sentence outcomes by race with other important micro-and macro-level characteristics. Finally, we discuss a number of the implications of racially and ethnically disparate sentencing outcomes for research policy.
             The potential for racial bias to influence sentencing and imprisonment threatens core principles of fairness and equality under the law, as a result, researchers, policy makers and legal advocates have devoted significant attention to questions about what role race plays in the sentencing process and to policies that might reduce racial bias in sentencing. Despite significant efforts to understand and address this vexing problem, new evidence suggests that rising incarceration rates over the past few decades have exacerbated racial disparities in imprisonment. Black inmates now constitute roughly 38% of the nearly 2.2 million people incarcerated in U.

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