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Study Shows Racial Disparity In Handling Of Criminal Cases In Manhattan

Jail cells (credit: ClipArt.com)

Jail cells (credit: ClipArt.com)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A study of prosecutions handled by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office has concluded that black and Hispanic defendants are more likely to be held in jail before trial than white and Asian defendants.

The study also found that black and Hispanic defendants were more likely to be offered plea bargains that include prison sentences.

The two-year study was conducted by the Vera Institute of Justice. Institute president Nicholas Turner said the study is a step toward bringing equality to criminal justice practices.

“It’s an important first step in promoting equality, because it sets out the factual predicate; it sets out where inequality exists, and that’s the first important step in trying to correct that and provide more equity,” Turner told 1010 WINS.

The study grew out of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s campaign promise to determine whether race played a role in prosecutors’ decisions. Vance’s office gave the institute unfettered access to its books for 2010 and 2011

He told The New York Times he would move forward with “implicit bias” training for his assistants to guard against unconscious prejudices in their decision-making.

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