Prison Sentences Shorten But Racial Disparities Persist
They need to raise the bar. Criminals in the U.S. may be spending less time in federal cells, but racial discrepancies have actually grown. A new study shows that white offenders have been getting shorter sentences than African-Americans ever since the Supreme Court gave judges more autonomy in 2005. The differences are largest for minor crimes involving weapons: Black offenders are being sentenced to about 1.5 years more than white ones. Reform advocates say officials need clearer guidelines to ensure that race doesn’t determine who does the most time.