Dr. Howell and 2011 CJ Graduate to Publish in Top-Tier Law Journal
Dr. Rebecca Howell and Tonya Hutto, a 2011 McNair Scholar and a December 2011 graduate from our CJ undergraduate program, will publish their criminal sentencing research in Behavioral Sciences and the Law, a top-tier law journal. Their national research study, entitled, “Sentencing Convicted Juvenile Felony Offenders in the Adult Court: The Direct Effects of Race,” was accepted for publication pending minor, superficial revisions. This topic was the focus of Tonya’s year-long McNair Scholars research project; Dr. Howell served as her McNair Faculty Research Mentor.
Using national data from 1,858 juvenile felony offenders, Dr. Howell and Tonya found that irrespective of a variety of legal and extra-legal factors (e.g., type of legal representation, trial type, pretrial release, current offense, prior juvenile and adult record, type of waiver, geographic location, gender, and age), the race and ethnicity of youth who were tried and convicted in the adult criminal justice system played a substantive role in the severity of sentences they were rendered. For example, compared to White convicted juvenile felony offenders, their Black and Hispanic counterparts were significantly more likely to be sentenced to jail than to probation or to restitution. Black defendants were more likely to be given jail time than Hispanic offenders. In contrast, White offenders were more likely to be sentenced to probation than Black juveniles, but not Hispanic youth. Interestingly, race and ethnicity had no substantive bearing on the likelihood of being sentenced to restitution.
Posted: Tuesday, March 27th, 2012