Cumulative Disadvantage and the Geography of Racial Inequality in Criminal Punishment

Authored by: Marisa Omori , Rachel Lautenschlager

Handbook on Punishment Decisions

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  October  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138221475
eBook ISBN: 9781315410371
Adobe ISBN:


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Although there has been a softening of the War on Drugs, its policies and practices still drive much of the racial inequality in the criminal justice system today (Provine, 2011; Roberts, 2004). In part, the Drug War and mass incarceration changed the landscape of many communities of color through its increased sentencing policies targeting crack cocaine and broadening proactive policing on enforcement of drug crimes (Lynch, 2012; Reinarman and Levine, 1997), as well as policies that impacted employment opportunities, housing, civic citizenship, and other “collateral consequences” of incarceration (Clear, 2002; Pager, 2008; Manza and Uggen, 2006). While scholars have noted that the high rates of arrests and incarceration have disproportionately impacted Black and Latino communities, we have little understanding of how this disproportionate impact of policing in neighborhoods of color results in inequality in mass criminalization through prosecution and sentencing.

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