JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Racial disparity and the legitimacy of the criminal justice system: exploring consequences for deterrence

Faye S Taxman, James M Byrne, April Pattavina
Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved 2005, 16 (4): 57-77
16327108
Minority (over) representation in the criminal justice system remains a puzzle, both from a policy and an intervention perspective. Cross-sectional reviews of the policies and practices of the criminal justice system often find differential rates of involvement in the criminal justice system that are associated with the nature of the criminal charge/act or characteristics of the offender; however, longitudinal reviews of the race effect often show it to be confounded by procedural and extralegal variables. This review focuses on how the cumulative policies and practices of the criminal justice system contribute to churning, or the recycling of individuals through the system. In conducting our review, we describe how the same criminal justice processes and practices adversely affect select communities. The consequences of policies and procedures that contribute to churning may affect the legitimacy of the criminal justice system as a deterrent to criminal behavior. A research agenda on issues related to legitimacy of the criminal justice system aimed at a better understanding of how this affects individual and community behavior is presented.

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