Communication and Humanities


Ashlea Green



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Ashlea Green, HON 400: All College Honors Colloquium
Faculty Mentor: Professor Andrea Guiati, Modern and Classical Language

For this research project, I am exploring systemic racism and the impact of racism within the criminal justice system; more specifically, I am researching the role that race plays on sentencing. It is common for the term “systemic racism” to be interpreted as an accusation that everyone in the system is racist, but I intend to explain and prove that it should be interpreted as our nation having systems and institutions that produce racially disparate outcomes. This should be a topic on which all citizens are informed, because our criminal justice system was built and established during the “Jim Crow” era, which specifically enforced racial segregation. The racism faced during that period is still clearly reflected into today’s society through the racially disparate sentencing lengths on convicted minorities. This is a problem that can lead to an explanation as to why there is such overcrowding of minorities in our prisons and why social movements like Black Lives Matter are so prevalent. African Americans are more likely than white Americans to be arrested; once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted; and once convicted, they are more likely to experience lengthy prison sentences. Truly meaningful reforms to the criminal justice system cannot be accomplished without acknowledgement of racial and ethnic disparities in the system, especially when it has an impact on the sentencing of minority individuals.

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Arts and Humanities

Does Race Play a Role in Sentencing?
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