Free «Felony Convictions» Essay

Felony Convictions

Section 1: The Problem

What is the problem of interest? Describe what you mean.

My problem of interest is how convicted felons are normally affected by withdrawal of their rights in the outside society at the post conviction stage.

Section 2: Concepts and Hypotheses

What are the concepts in your study? Describe and explain what each one means.

I will look at the concept of race in terms of levels of convictions in the society. There have been significantly different outcomes for various racial groups in the conviction and sentencing of felons in the U.S. criminal justice system. Some analysts have even debated and tried to analyze relative significance of different factors that have contributed to these obvious disparities and it has been observed that defendants from minority communities are often charged with crimes that require mandatory minimum sentences at a higher frequency than defendants from the white community. This has contributed to a very large racial disparity in terms of incarceration levels. The probability that African Americans will one day serve time in jail is almost 28% while it stands at 16% in case of Hispanic males and a low of 4% for the majority white community.

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Several studies have managed to show that there is no noticeable disparity in white vs. black conviction likelihoods for persons accused in white-controlled vs. black-run cities. In these regions’ biggest counties, prosecution rates for accused African Americans were relatively lower than those for whites. Several scholars have tried to address what they view as the entrenched systemic biasness that is visible in meting out of the death penalty in the U.S. There is also a significant disparity between different races when it comes to sentencing of convicts to serve on a death row. Data released by the U.S. Department of Justice over the past two decades have indicated that black defendants were sentenced to death row in almost 49% of their cases, while Hispanic defendants faced the same fate in almost 29% of all cases. The least rates were experienced by defendants from the majority white community that were handed the death penalty in almost 20% of their cases.

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Africans Americans have a significantly higher chance of ending up in prison, especially after dropping out of high school. A black male who has dropped out of school has a significantly higher chance at 50% of getting incarcerated during his adult or pre-adult years. A white male facing the same situation has a significantly lower chance at only 11% of serving time in prison. Various socio-economic and educational disparities compounded by alleged mistreatment by the Federal Criminal Justice System have played a significant part in increasing and maintaining these gaps in the incarceration rates.

What is the unit of analysis? (What are the individual things you are studying?)

Depressive symptoms/psychological problems, lack of voting rights, financial aid/education are those things that are analyzed. I will study psychological problems that contribute to high incarceration rates amongst specific segments of the society. A good example is that about 47% of African American females are likely to be raised in a family that only has one parent due to incarceration of their fathers early on in their lives. This therefore means that an African American female or any child for that matter is indirectly shaped by the criminal justice system. This may affect their psychological development in a manner that is likely to contribute to the commission of criminal activities in the future.

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The lack of voting rights after a felony conviction may affect former inmates in several ways. They may feel that they are being alienated from the society, resulting in anger and resentment that may contribute to commission of crimes that will eventually lead them back to the criminal justice system and a second conviction.

What is/are your core hypotheses/research questions? State them clearly and explicitly. Insure that your hypotheses link 2 or more variables in a causal statement.

I suppose that socio-economic factors such as poverty due to the lack of jobs or employment in minority communities contribute to higher conviction rates due to engagement in crimes to earn a living. (I predict that x will cause y)

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What kind of relationship do you predict will exist between the variables?

High levels of poverty and unemployment in given communities contribute to higher incarceration rates. It becomes a vicious cycle since persons with a criminal record are unlikely to be employed, thus pushing them back into the criminal world.

What is/are the independent variables?

The independent variable in this case is education levels and levels of school dropouts in various communities.

How might you operationalize (actually measure/identify) your independent variable and how it varies? What are some alternate ways you might choose?

This variable will be measured by looking at the statistics from various government agencies like the criminal justice system and the education department. An alternative, but less accurate way would be to use a sample population and conduct the research through questionnaires and interviews.

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What is your dependent variable?

My dependent variable will be rates of conviction amongst various communities that I will look at.

How have you conceptualized your dependent variable?

I will conceptualize the dependant variable by giving it a theoretical meaning within the framework of the research

What are some possible strategies for operationalizing your dependent variable?

The possible strategy would be to test the hypotheses with the initially formulated theory.

Section 3: Justification

Why is your research important?

This research is important in order to identify real reasons that have led to a wide disparity between conviction rates of various racial groups. It may not be a systemic racism as it is widely believed since the justice systems acts on what is brought before it.

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