Who Gets a Second Chance? Conviction Diversion Programs and Their Consequences for Inequality

Lindsay Bing , University of Texas at Austin

A growing literature is expanding criminal justice research beyond incarceration and felony conviction by mapping the expansion and consequences of lower-level criminal justice contact, including misdemeanors, arrest records, and community supervision. Within this recent body of work, there is little research on the distribution and consequences of alternative criminal case dispositions, and how they contribute to racial disparities in the U.S. criminal justice system. This paper addresses the gap in the literature by analyzing whether and how criminal case dispositions vary by race and ethnicity. To investigate this question, I use a unique data set from a large urban jurisdiction in Texas that includes all felony and jailable misdemeanor cases (N=663,796) filed against adults aged 17-99 (N=280,342) from 2000-2015. Preliminary results indicate that Whites are more likely to have their cases result in a non-conviction compared with Black and Latinx defendants.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session 243. Child and Youth Exposures to Criminal Justice Systems