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Politics and State Punitiveness in Black and White

33 Pages Posted: 7 May 2005  

Jeff Yates

Binghamton University - Department of Political Science

Richard Fording

University of Kentucky - Department of Political Science

Abstract

Recent findings from the literature on imprisonment policy suggest that in addition to traditional social and economic variables, imprisonment rates are also strongly related to changes in the state political environment. In this study, we extend this literature by testing a theory of state punitiveness which posits that (1) the political environment of states influences the degree to which they incarcerate their citizens, and (2) the political determinants of state punitiveness may be conditional upon the racial sub-population being incarcerated. Our results suggest that increases in state political conservatism in recent decades have contributed to increases in both the growth in black imprisonment rates and black imprisonment disparity (relative to whites), but that these effects are, to a degree, tempered by countervailing political conditions.

Keywords: Law, legal, courts, economics, political, prison, incarceration, race, racial, state, justice, criminal

Suggested Citation

Yates, Jeff and Fording, Richard, Politics and State Punitiveness in Black and White. Journal of Politics, 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=715565

Jeff L. Yates (Contact Author)

Binghamton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Binghamton, NY 13902
United States

Richard Fording

University of Kentucky - Department of Political Science ( email )

Lexington, KY 40546
United States

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