Report to downplay race as factor in justice system

A forthcoming report on disparities in South Dakota's justice system will link different treatment of Indians to poverty not race.

The report by Richard Braunstein, a University of South Dakota who studied the system, acknowledges that Indians receive longer sentences than whites and are less likely to get probation than whites. But he says these outcomes are based on the lower socio-economic status of Indians and not their race.

Braunstein presented some of the details of his forthcoming report at the first hearing of the South Dakota Equal Justice Commission. His report will be released to the public after being given to Gov. Mike Rounds (R).

The study is a follow-up to one that outlined the existence of the disparities but did not explain the cause.

Get the Story:
Sentencing disparity blamed on poverty (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 7/20)
Researcher says evidence doesn't support bias perception (AP 7/19)

Preliminary Report:
Justice In South Dakota: Does Race Make A Difference? (October 2002)

Related Stories:
Race study confirms disparity (10/28)
S.D. study shows disparity in justice (10/22)