U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Central Place of Race in Crime and Justice-The American Society of Criminology's 2011 Sutherland Address

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 50 Issue: 2 Dated: May 2012 Pages: 303-328
Ruth D. Peterson
Date Published
May 2012
26 pages

This study examined racial and ethnic disparities in crime and criminal justice.


In the United States and elsewhere, racial and ethnic disparities in crime and criminal justice are relatively ubiquitous. Yet the meaning of such disparities is not well understood. To address this concern, periodically there have been calls for research that takes into account the broader structural context of the racially and ethnically inequitable crime and justice patterns. However, a comprehensive approach to understanding such inequality is seldom applied in research. In this article the author reviews findings from a program of research on crime across race-ethnic neighborhoods that that the author has undertaken with Lauren J. Krivo and other colleagues to provide, and assess, such a framework. The starting point of the approach is that ethnoracial inequality in neighborhood crime is an outgrowth of a racialized social structure maintained largely through racial residential segregation. As anticipated, the findings illustrate the value added from research that embeds its assessment of crime and justice within an understanding of structured societal inequality. From these results, the author calls for placing race and ethnicity at the center of the study of crime and justice. (Published Abstract)