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By Martha A. Myers

Historically, the statement and invocation of felony consequences have been public spectacles. this day, worry of crime and disaffection with the legal justice approach make sure that this public fascination with punishment keeps. some time past decade, almost each legislature within the state has undertaken sentencing reform, within the wish that public trouble with crime will be allayed and dispari­ ties in felony sentences will be lowered if now not eradicated. students have intensified their longstanding preoccupation with discrimination and the assets of disparate therapy in the course of sentencing - matters that proceed to gasoline contem­ porary reform efforts. As documented in bankruptcy 1, empirical study on sen­ tencing has focused a lot of its consciousness at the criminal. only in the near past have makes an attempt been made to imbed sentencing in its broader organizational and social contexts. Our learn extends those makes an attempt via quantitatively studying the connection among the criminal and the social contexts during which she or he is sentenced. We use info on legal sentencing in Georgia among 1976 and 1985 to invite 3 questions. the 1st addresses a subject of perennial difficulty: in the course of sentencing, how vital are criminal attributes, either these of specific felony relevance and features whose criminal relevance is questionable or nonexistent? the second one query directs consciousness to the social contexts of sentencing and asks whether or not they at once impact sentencing outcomes.

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Jackson and Carroll, 1981) have suggested that the size of the black population has a curvilinear effect on the way blacks are treated in the community. Presumably, the threat an economically subordinate black population poses is greatest when the blacks are a substantial minority of the population. Once blacks become a numerical majority, they may achieve enough political power to ensure more evenhanded treatment. To test for curvilinearity, we dummy-coded percent black to compare counties having small black populations (less than 25 %) with two other groups of counties.

5 28 2. Methods The Court As noted in Chapter I, the structure of the court and attributes of its personnel have received considerable attention, particularly in qualitative and appellate court research. On the basis of the literature, we focus on court bureaucratization and selected characteristics of sentencing judges. 4 presents these dimensions. Court Bureaucratization As noted earlier, Weberian and conflict theories offer quite different expectations about the role bureaucratization plays during sentencing.

For DeKalb County, we devised a codesheet and, together with law students, transferred information obtained from a random sample of 1,115 prosecutor files. Reliability was enhanced by random checks on coder accuracy. Supplemental data from Fulton and DeKalb counties cover the period 1974-80. They had already been collected when the Department of Corrections offered us sentencing Conclusion 39 data from July 1980 through May 1985 and informed us that data collected prior to 1976 were unreliable.

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