Do Race and Ethnicity Matter in Prosecution? A Review of Empirical Studies


Vera’s Prosecution and Racial Justice Program (PRJ) conducted a review of 34 empirical studies on the relationship of race and ethnicity to prosecutorial decision making published between 1990 and 2011 in peer-reviewed journals. The literature review distills the research and provides a reference resource for a diverse audience—including academics, practitioners, and interested generalists—about the current state of the debate on these subjects. The aim of the literature review is to encourage additional empirical research on the relationship between race and prosecution by identifying areas that need further study; provide prosecutors and other criminal justice practitioners with a frame of reference in which to assess their own practices; and strengthen the general public’s understanding of the criminal justice system.