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The article found for this weeks forum showed the correlation between how a person feels about

current sentencing from the criminal justice system and whether or not that person had any previous individual or secondhand experience with the justice system. The article by Davila, Hartley, Buckler, and Wilson (2011) explains that many different studies have shown how various factors like race, gender, and education level affect how people feel about criminal justice system sentencing, but this was the first that researched prior justice system experience. According to the research paper, To measure sentencing attitudes, the dependent variable (Too Lenient) was developed from a survey question that asked respondents the following: Thinking about the amount of prison time and other punishments now given to people convicted of crimes; in general, do you think sentences are too harsh, too lenient, or about right? (Davila, Hartley, Buckler, Wilson, pg. 412, 2011) Using this dependent variable, the research choose several different independent variables to test how they would impact an individuals feelings of leniency when it came to the sentences hand down by the criminal justice system. These independent variables included race, gender, as well as political affiliation. The study also used age as a continuous variable and used the range from 18 to 97 years old. The education level achieved by the individual as well as how much income they made was split up into a 7-point and an 8-point categorical variable, respectively. The study also include religion by asking how often each individual attended religious services. The last variable used was the crux of the research and it asked, Have you, or an immediate family member or close friend, ever been charged with any type of crime, excluding traffic violations? (Davila, Hartley, Buckler, Wilson, pg. 413, 2011) The study had three different hypotheses on how an individual would feel about criminal justice system sentencing based off of the race of the person in the study. Two of the hypotheses indicated that white interviewees would think sentences were too lenient compared to African-American and Hispanic interviewees. The third hypothesis on race indicated that Hispanic respondents were more likely to perceive sentences as too lenient compared to African-American respondents. The research had multiple results, starting with females perceiving sentencing as too harsh compared to their male counterparts. The results proved the race hypotheses correctly, as Hispanics and African-Americans were more likely to think that sentences were not lenient enough. Education level showed no substantial bearing in how individuals perceived the sentencing one way or the other. The research was able to show that prior experience with the criminal justice system, through their own or family and friend experience, typically resulted in interviewees perceiving sentencing as too harsh. One article I found that might help explain some of the outcomes of this research suggests that there is some inequality in the sentences handed down depending on the sentencees race. The paper states that, Albonetti examined unexplained sentencing differences as well as race and gender differences in the length of sentences. Albonetti's study found that minority status alone accounted for an additional sentence length of "one to seven months." (Kamalu, Coulson-Clark, Kamalu, pg.3, 2010) Criminal justice research that complements each other like this can be very helpful in showing disparities in justice and are the first step in helping to change things for the better.

Davila, M. A., Hartley, D. J., Buckler, K., & Wilson, S. (2011). Personal and vicarious experience with the criminal justice system as a predictor of punitive sentencing attitudes. American Journal of Criminal Justice : AJCJ, 36(4), 408-420. doi: Kamalu, N. C., Coulson-Clark, M., & Kamalu, N. M. (2010). Racial disparities in sentencing: Implications for the criminal justice system and the african american community. African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies : AJCJS, 4(1), 1-31. Retrieved from