Does Race Affect Prosecutorial Decisions?


The race of defendant and victims appears to affect prosecutorial decisions, reports a new analysis by the Vera Institute of Justice, a national not-for-profit based in New York City that provides technical assistance to governments on criminal justice matters. Researchers reviewed 34 empirical studies on the relationship of race and ethnicity to prosecutorial decision making that were published between 1990 and 2011 in peer-reviewed journals. Some key findings include, while race does influence prosecutorial decision making, it is inconsistent and it is not always Latinos or African- Americans who receive punitive punishment compared to whites.

Access the study here.

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