Extensive survey of research and surveys of research and so on.
Pull quote from the article, below:
I always assumed it obviously didn’t. Then a while ago I read this harshly polemical but research-filled article claiming to prove it did. Then I found a huge review paper on the subject, written by a Harvard professor of sociology, which concluded after analyzing sixty pages of exquisitely-researched studies that:
Recognizing that research on criminal justice processing in the United States is complex and fraught with methodological problems, the weight of the evidence reviewed suggests the following. When restricted to index crimes, dozens of individual-level studies have shown that a simple direct influence of race on pretrial release, plea bargaining, conviction, sentence length, and the death penalty among adults is small to nonexistent once legally relevant variables (e.g. prior record) are controlled. For these crimes, racial differentials in sanctioning appear to match the large racial differences in criminal offending. Findings on the processing of adult index crimes therefore generally support the non-discrimination thesis.
Clearly this was more complicated than I thought. I decided to waste my precious free time reading seven zillion contradictory studies to figure out what was going on. Some people on Tumblr have demanded I report back, so here goes: