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Title:The politics of race and the criminal justice system
Author(s):Testa, Paul Franz
Director of Research:Mondak, Jeffery J.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Mondak, Jeffery J.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Gaines, Brian J.; Kuklinski, James H.; Wong, Cara J.
Department / Program:Political Science
Discipline:Political Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Criminal justice
Political participation
Political behavior
Abstract:The intersection of race, justice and politics create a vicious cycle in the U.S. Those most affected by disparities in the current system are the least likely to participate in politics, while those relatively unaffected are often unlikely to acknowledge the issue as one in need of political solutions. This dissertation makes four contributions to this larger concern. First, using court data paired with voting records, it provides further evidence that contact with the police decreases turnout. By examining how the size of this effect varies based on characteristics of the individuals and their experiences, it also sheds light on the potential mechanisms behind this effect. Second, it offers a holistic framework for thinking about how dispositions, experience, and vicarious information shape attitudes about the criminal justice system. Third, it applies this framework in the analysis of two survey experiments demonstrating broadly that perceptions of injustice vary markedly by race and specifically showing how people unlikely to experience discrimination personally are unlikely to perceive bias in the specific interactions with the police, regardless of their beliefs about the general fairness of the police. Finally, with survey data and a unique experiment, it shows that vicarious exposure to minority experiences with the police may facilitate a common understanding of the racial issues facing the criminal justice system.
Issue Date:2016-08-29
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Paul F. Testa
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-03-01
Date Deposited:2016-12

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