Race, Punishment, and the Michael Vick Experience

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Title Race, Punishment, and the Michael Vick Experience
Author Piquero, Alex; Piquero, Nicole Leeper; Gertz, Marc; Baker, Thomas; Batton, Jason; Barnes, J. C.
Journal Name Social Science Quarterly
Year Published 2011
Place of publication United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc
Abstract Objective. The relationship between race and crime has been contentious, focusing primarily on offending and incarceration patterns among minorities. There has been some limited work on public perceptions of criminal punishment, and findings show that while minorities believe in the role and rule of law, they simultaneously perceive the justice system as acting in a biased and/or unfair manner. Two limitations have stalled this literature. First, research has focused mainly on criminal punishments to the neglect of noncriminal punishments. Second, most studies have not examined whether race remains salient after considering other demographic variables or discrimination and legitimacy attitudes. Methods. Using data from 400 adults, we examine how race affects perceptions of criminal punishment and subsequent reinstatement into the National Football League in the case of Michael Vick, a star professional quarterback who pled guilty to charges of operating an illegal dog-fighting ring. Results. Findings show that whites are more likely to view Vick’s punishment as too soft and that he should not be reinstated, while nonwhites had the opposite views. Race remained significant after controlling for other variables believed to be related to punishment perceptions. Conclusion. Attitudes toward both criminal punishment and NFL reinstatement vary across race such that there exists important divides in how individuals perceive the system meting out punishment and subsequently reintegrating offenders back into society. These results underscore that white and nonwhites perceive the law and its administration differently.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Alternative URI http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-6237.2011.00781.x
Copyright Statement Self-archiving of the author-manuscript version is not yet supported by this journal. Please refer to the journal link for access to the definitive, published version or contact the author[s] for more information.
Volume 92
Issue Number 2
Page from 535
Page to 551
ISSN 0038-4941
Date Accessioned 2012-04-18; 2012-06-04T22:40:19Z
Faculty Arts, Education and Law
Subject Causes and Prevention of Crime
URI http://hdl.handle.net/10072/45466
Publication Type Journal Articles (Refereed Article)
Publication Type Code c1

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