Psychologists and legal analysts have been studying the effects of race on sentencing of death penalty cases for more than 30 years. It has been suggested that the tendency for there to be slightly higher rates of African American men on Death Row than people of any other racial group, or gender has several causes. Although, there are other minority groups with high incarceration rates, African American males are typically used as an example because there are higher rates of African American males in prison than men from any other minority .These include socioeconomic pressures, unemployment and political conservatism. These factors all have a role to play in determining why some criminals receive a death sentence while others merely spend life in prison. According to United States Department of Justice Statistics since more than 43% of the people on Death Row were African Americans. Currently more than 55% of the prisoners on Death Row are African American.
California had more than 230 African American prisoners on Death Row in 2005 making it the state with the highest rate of African American Death Row inmates in the United States Ã¯Â¿Â½ This is no longer an issue of racism, rather an issue of the deficits that many African American Men have in regards to economic and social resources.
Politics, to some extent, have always played a role in the interaction between race, and death row sentences. Helms and Jacobs state that, the disparity between African American prison sentences and those of Whites, Asians, and Hispanics may partly be a result of conservative political values in areas where there are large numbers of African Americans in the prison system. Ã¯Â¿Â½ Political attitudes towards crime and sentencing and towards criminals vary from state to state, and even from county to county within those states.