Racial Bias in Bail Decisions

Prison systems were created to institutionalise racism and bias against racial minority groups in the United States. Judicial institutions, designed to further biases have perpetuated systemic biases against minority groups.  This paper develops a new test for identifying racial bias in the context of bail decisions – a high-stakes setting with large disparities between white and black defendants. The paper is suggestive of the findings that bail judges are racially biased against black defendants, with substantially more racial bias among both inexperienced and part-time judges. This bias heavily relied upon stereotypes that exaggerate the bias around the danger of releasing black defendants. Read the full paper here.

Authors: David Arnold, Will Dobbie, Crystal S. Yang§

Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology