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A Multilevel Test of Minority Threat Effects on Sentencing

Xia Wang and Daniel P. Mears
Journal of Quantitative Criminology
Vol. 26, No. 2 (June 2010), pp. 191-215
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23367563
Page Count: 25
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Abstract

Prior studies of criminal sanctioning have focused almost exclusively on individual-level predictors of sentencing outcomes. However, in recent years, scholars have begun to include social context in their research. Building off of this work—and heeding calls for testing the racial and ethnic minority threat perspective within a multilevel framework and for separating prison and jail sentences as distinct outcomes—this paper examines different dimensions of minority threat and explores whether they exert differential effects on prison versus jail sentences. The findings provide support for the racial threat perspective, and less support for the ethnic threat perspective. They also underscore the importance of testing for non-linear threat effects and for separating jail and prison sentences as distinct outcomes. We discuss the findings and their implications for theory, research, and policy.

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