Arkansas Study Finds Blacks Receive Harsher Sentences For Homicide Convictions Than Whites

Aug 28, 2015

As Arkansas contends with overcrowded prisons, high rates of recidivism among parolees, and the potential resumption of executions, a conference this weekend at the UALR Bowen School of Law is focusing on findings of a report by the Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System Project.

Director Adjoa Aiyetoro and the project team analyzed records of 538 convicted murderers at 8 prisons across Arkansas. They also reviewed records of prosecutor discretion in four counties between 2010 and 2013.

The report shows African-Americans convicted of murder are more likely to receive harsher sentences than white, including a higher likelihood of being put on death row. Despite this, white convicts were found to be put on death row if they had mental health problems or a history of drug addiction. 

Hear more on the study in a conversation with Aiyetoro below.