Princeton University Library Catalog

The Effects of Perceived Stereotypicality of Black Inmates on Acceptance of Punitive Anti-Crime Policies

Laster, Jordan [Browse]
Senior thesis
Shelton, J. Nicole [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Psychology [Browse]
Class year:
Summary note:
Punitive anti-crime policies have led to unprecedented growth in the United States prison population and have contributed to soaring incarceration rates, especially for Blacks. In this research, I investigate the relationship between perceived stereotypicality (how stereotypical one appears) of Black inmates and policy reform. I displayed mugshots of White and Black inmates to White and Black participants and observed the results of how race influenced participants, thus garnering their support for a punitive anti-crime policy, specifically the three-strikes law. For each of the three incarceration profiles in my experiment, I manipulated the degree of perceived stereotypicality of Black inmates and the number of Black inmate mugshots displayed: across profiles, Black participants rated the law as significantly more punitive than White participants. However, there were no significant discrepancies within or between races regarding the support of the three-strikes law. Consequently, exposure to more stereotypically black incarceration profiles, does not lead people to support punitive anti-crime policies. Keywords: incarceration, policy reform, prison, race, stereotypicality, three-strikes law