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Psychology and Education: An Interdisciplinary Journal, South Carolina State University

Sentencing Outcomes of Drug Offenders in South Carolina: A Comparison of Race, Gender and Age
By Dr. James Shumpert & Dr. Frederick M.G. Evans

The judiciary process that gives the judge the latitude to impose sentences can be seen as a weakness based on multiple studies of judges imposing extreme sentences for the same crimes (Bernick & Larkin, 2015). Additionally, much research has been done on the disparities of sentencing as it relates to the judge who is in the sentencing process. In a study by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) of federal sentences imposed for drugs, white collar and other kinds of crimes, data was collected from 2007 to 2011 in a judge-by-judge review of 370,000 cases. Multiple sentencing disparities were found among federal district court judges. This finding raised questions about imposing sentences when faced with particular judges issuing median sentences of 24 months over a five year period. How ever, within the median sentences were major disparities. One judge gave median drug sentences of 12 months, while another judge gave a median drug sentence of 64 months. In another case analyzed by TRAC, the Northern District of Texas, convicted drug criminals who were given median prison sentence as low as 60 months. In comparison, another judge handed down sentences of 160 months for the same type of crime. In the TRAC study, South Carolina ranked among the top 10 with the largest sentencing differences. Eleven judges in 1,703 cases had a median difference of 60. The median judge was 93, the lowest judge was 60 and the highest was 120......[Citing TRAC research].

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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