Journal of Quantitative Criminology

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 189–211 | Cite as

Difference, Disparity, and Race/Ethnic Bias in Federal Sentencing

  • Ronald S. Everett
  • Roger A. Wojtkiewicz


Federal sentencing guidelines were enacted to reduce unwarranted disparities in sentencing. In this paper we examine the degree to which disparity in sentencing on the basis of race and ethnicity occurred in federal sentencing after the guidelines were implemented. We consider how much of the disparity is explained by offense-related factors as specified in the guidelines. We find that African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans receive relatively harsher sentences than whites and that these differentials are only partly explained by offense-related characteristics. We interpret our findings in light of attribution, uncertainty avoidance, and conflict theories.

sentencing disparity race/ethnic bias guidelines determinate 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald S. Everett
    • 1
  • Roger A. Wojtkiewicz
    • 2
  1. 1.Office of Research and EvaluationNational Institute of JusticeWashington
  2. 2.Department of SociologyBall State UniversityMuncie

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