Bias in the Law

Bias in the Law

A Definitive Look at Racial Prejudice in the U.S. Criminal Justice System


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Racial bias in the U.S. criminal justice system is much debated and discussed, but until now, no single volume has covered the full expanse of the issue. In Bias in the Law, sixteen outstanding experts address the impact of racial bias in the full roster of criminal justice actors. They examine the role of legislators crafting criminal justice legislation, community enforcers, and police, as well as prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys, judges, and jurors. Understanding when and why bias arises, as well as how it impacts defendants requires a clear understanding how each of these actors operate. Contributions touch on other crucial topics—racialized drug stigma, legal technology, and interventions—that are vital for understanding how the United States has reached this moment of stark racial disparity in incarceration. The result is an important entry into understanding the pervasiveness of racial bias, how such bias impacts legal outcomes, and why such impact matters. This is an issue that is as relevant today as it was fifty—or even one hundred fifty—years ago, and collection editors Joseph Avery and Joel Cooper provide a glimpse at how to proceed.