Racial Cumulative Disadvantage: The Cumulative Effects of Racial Bias at Multiple Decision Points in the Criminal Justice System
6 Wake Forest J.L. & Pol'y 441 (2016)
18 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2017
Date Written: 2016
Racial bias in the twenty-first century endures in the form of racial cumulative disadvantage. It exists in the criminal justice system where people of color suffer from racial biases at multiple decision points. The multiple biases accumulate to create adverse outcomes such as imprisonment for defendants of color; in capital cases, the adverse outcome is death. Defendants of color in the criminal justice system, therefore, contend not with a mere single incident of racial bias, but with multiple instances of racial biases spread among multiple actors across multiple stages that accumulate. Remedying racial cumulative disadvantage entails dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline, requiring racial impact statements to consider cumulative disadvantage effects, and abolishing the death penalty. The goal is to eradicate racial cumulative disadvantage to promote equal advantage and thereby craft a more just society.
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