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Student
Title
Supervisor
Faculty
Educational Programme
Final Grade
Year of Graduation
Valeriya Zobun
Sentencing Disparity: a Meta-analysis
Sociology
(Bachelor’s programme)
2017
The issue of sentencing disparity is a major area of interest for sociology scholars within the field of law. On the one hand sociology scholars are interested in inequality in various manifestations, on the other hand the phenomena of sentencing disparity explains how society and especially the criminal justice system work.

Since the sociology scholars began examine the problem of disparate treatment in courts, a considerable literature has grown up around the sociological approach. The vast majority of empirical research attempted to answer the question “why is one group of people sentenced differently than the other one”? Similarly, sociology scholars conducted lots of research trying to find out what factors influence the sentencing outcome the most. However, it is still impossible to understand whether judges punished differently for example some groups of blacks (e.g. homeless, unemployed), but not all the black offenders or some groups of women (e.g. repeat offenders or mothers), but not all the women.

This uncertainty becomes the reason why modern researches begin to analyze the results of previous research. Nowadays, meta-analysis is fast becoming a key instrument for combining data from the previous studies. Many researchers have utilised meta-analysis in different studies. This method remedies the shortcomings of narrative reviews by using quantitative procedures that synthesize a collection of studies using special numerical estimates. Also, this method allows to analyze one type of variable from different studies, holding others constant, providing the information about how methodological framework can influence the research’s results.

Guided by the hypothesis from the different theoretical and methodological perspectives, this research reviews the data from independent studies, aiming to provide a systematic and comprehensive synthesis of empirical research that examine race factor, which can influence sentencing disparity in American’s courts.

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