Mass incarceration through a different lens: Race, subcontext, and perceptions of punitiveness of correctional alternatives when compared to prison
Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology
Race and Justice
In spite of documented harmful effects of mass incarceration, evidence to date suggests that Blacks perceive the experience of prison as less punitive than Whites. While these findings are well documented, little is known about the role of sociodemographic or contextual factors in shaping this pattern. Utilizing a quantitative intersectional framework, we analyze data from over 1000 Kentucky prison inmates who were within 12 months of their parole hearing or release date to examine the differential effects of various sociodemographic and contextual factors on perceptions of the punitiveness of regular probation, community service, and electronic monitoring (as opposed to prison) for Blacks and Whites. Findings confirm the presence of a racial gap in perceptions of the punitiveness of various alternatives to incarceration; however, results from models disaggregated by race highlight important differences in the effects of gender, parenting, and childhood locale on these perceptions. These findings demonstrate the role of various factors in shaping Blacks? and Whites? differential perceptions and reveal the contexts where these differences are most likely to be found.
Link to Published Version
Irizarry, Yasmiyn, May, David C., Davis, Adrienne, & Wood, Peter B. (2015). Mass incarceration through a different lens: Race, subcontext, and perceptions of punitiveness of correctional alternatives when compared to prison. Race and Justice, 6(3), 236–256. doi:10.1177/2153368715603103