IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/8506.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Assessing Racial Discrimination in Parole Release

Author

Listed:
  • Mechoulan, Stéphane
  • Sahuguet, Nicolas

Abstract

We investigate possible racial discrimination in the context of discretionary parole release. We develop a rational choice model of release whereby a parole board must balance parolees' risk of violation with the cost of not releasing prisoners who may not violate their parole. A color-blind parole board would release all individuals below a certain risk threshold. To test this prediction, we take advantage of a unique data set that reports all prisoners released on parole between 1983 and 2003 in the U.S. We apply the outcome test methodology recently used to assess racial profiling in police search decisions. Here, a higher rate of parole violation within a group suggests that the parole board used a less restrictive paroling criterion, and is thus biased in favor of that group. To overcome the concern of inframarginality that traditionally plagues outcome tests we provide evidence that parole boards strategically time the release of parolees. In turn, both minority and White prisoners become marginal from the perspective of their probability of parole violation. Parole boards operating under an indeterminate sentencing regime appear biased against White prisoners whose violation rate is significantly smaller than that of African Americans. In contrast, this gap is smaller or null when there is no discretion in the paroling system. Further evidence rules out post-release discrimination. We propose different hypotheses to account for the evidence.

Suggested Citation

  • Mechoulan, Stéphane & Sahuguet, Nicolas, 2011. "Assessing Racial Discrimination in Parole Release," CEPR Discussion Papers 8506, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8506
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=8506
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Dan Bernhardt & Steeve Mongrain & Joanne Roberts, 2012. "Rehabilitated or Not: An Informational Theory of Parole Decisions," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(2), pages 186-210.
    2. Fabel, Oliver & Meier, Volker, 1999. "Optimal parole decisions1," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 159-166, June.
    3. John Knowles & Nicola Persico & Petra Todd, 2001. "Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(1), pages 203-232, February.
    4. Ayres, Ian & Vars, Fredrick E, 2000. "Determinants of Citations to Articles in Elite Law Reviews," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 427-450, January.
    5. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
    6. Fabel, Oliver & Meier, Volker, 1999. "Optimal parole decisions," Munich Reprints in Economics 20546, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    7. Curry, Philip A. & Klumpp, Tilman, 2009. "Crime, punishment, and prejudice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 73-84, February.
    8. Moses Shayo & Asaf Zussman, 2011. "Judicial Ingroup Bias in the Shadow of Terrorism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1447-1484.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Shamena Anwar & Hanming Fang, 2015. "Testing for Racial Prejudice in the Parole Board Release Process: Theory and Evidence," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(1), pages 1-37.
    2. Anwar Shamena & Fang Hanming, 2012. "Testing for the Role of Prejudice in Emergency Departments Using Bounceback Rates," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 13(3), pages 1-49, December.
    3. Ilic, Dragan, 2013. "Prejudice in Swiss Naturalization Decisions: Theory and Evidence," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79953, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. Ilić, Dragan, 2016. "Prejudice in Naturalization Decisions: Theory and Evidence," Working papers 2016/04, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    discrimination; outcome test; parole release; race;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • K40 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8506. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.