There’s a not-so-surprising racial hierarchy within the justice system in the New York City area. According to a study conducted by the Vera Institute of Justice, Whites and Asians receive better plea deals, and other legal breaks than Blacks and Latinos.
Versa collaborated with D.A.’s in New York and New Jersey “in order to ensure the integrity of the justice system, it is essential that case outcomes do not disproportionately affect members of certain racial and ethnic groups—and that any disparities be identified so solutions can be developed.”
The two-year study analyzed more than 200,000 cases with emphasis on prosecutors at specific junctures of criminal case including dismissal, plea deals, sentencing recommendations, and pretrial detention.
In the case of plea bargaining for misdemeanor sentence offerings, Blacks were 13 percent more likely to receive prison or jail time vs. community service, fines, or probation, in comparison to Whites and Asian in similar predicaments. Latinos were 5 percent more likely to fall into the same category, while Asian were 25 percent less likely to receive jail or prison sentence offerings. Prior arrests, legal representation, and past prison sentences factor into bargain options for offenders.
Of the four races, Asians had the best legal victories. The study found that Asian offenders received better sentences for both misdemeanor and felonies.
Photo: AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli