Tag Archives: Race

How Judges Think About Racial Disparities


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Massachusetts Trial Court Offers Evidence-Based Best Sentencing Practices



The Massachusetts Trial Court departments that have a major role in sentencing have produced sentencing best practices documents. This is a significant achievement. Here is an article describing the key Best Practice Principles. They are the product of more than a year of hard work by broad-based committees and are extraordinary data-driven consensus best practices recommendations for judges and practitioners.  Here is the Superior Court PDF including the Best Practice Principles and Commentary, and the website for all of the documents.

Incarceration of Hispanics in MA

policeline.jpgJuly 2016 Update: The Sentencing Project has issued a comprehensive report on race and incarceration. Here is the PDF of the report (The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State Prison), and here is the website introducing the report. It suggests that Massachusetts has the highest ratio of disparity of Hispanic to white incarceration; stated another way, the difference between incarceration of Hispanics and whites in Massachusetts may be the highest in the U.S.

Based on 2014 State Prison data The Sentencing Project has released incarceration data by race for Massachusetts. Per 100,000 population whites, blacks and Hispanics are incarcerated at a rate of 82:655:401. For example, 82 whites were incarcerated per 100,000 white population, 655 blacks per 100,000 black population and 401 Hispanics per 100,000 Hispanic population.

These large disparities are typical for the U.S. However, the recent data highlights the disparity between incarceration of Hispanics and whites in Massachusetts, the data shows that the ratio of disparity, for example, between Hispanics and whites in Massachusetts is much higher than in most of the U.S. (4.9:1 Massachusetts versus 1.3:1 National). Here is the document:

Hispanic Incarceration in Massachusetts