Evan Lowder, Assistant Professor, Criminology, Law and Society, received funding for project aimed at advancing understanding of racial disparities in criminal-legal processing in the State of Indiana.
Lowder has four goals for this project:
1) To document local and statewide data sources to measure criminal-legal decision-making;
2) To identify key measures for assessing racial equity in criminal-legal decision-making reflecting both available data and empirical trends;
3) To understand criminal-legal decision points contributing to racially disparate outcomes; and
4) To further data collection efforts at local and state levels that can facilitate improved tracking of criminal-legal decisions.
To accomplish these goals, she will conduct a two-part investigation.
In the first part of this investigation, she will establish a baseline understanding of available data sources at the local and state levels, identify potential decision-making measures, and report on baseline descriptive outcomes by race in 3-4 local jurisdictions.
In the second part of the investigation, Lowder will increase the rigor of causal inferences about disparate decision-making.
Lowder holds that, together, outcomes from these complementary investigations (Part 1 and Part 2) will aid researchers in understanding the role of broader systemic disparity in contributing to disparate outcomes.
Regarding the project's importance, Lowder said, "This study will advance practice by helping local and state agencies identify and measure racial disparities in criminal-legal outcomes. The study will also advance research by examining the role of relative disadvantage in the cumulative effects of criminal-legal decisions and outcomes."
Lowder received $20,000 from Indiana Office of Court Services for this work. Funding began in December 2021 and will end in December 2022.
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