The Effect of Race on Sentencing Decisions in Washington

In the latest episode of Discussions with DPIC, Dr. Katherine Beckett (pictured, left) and Dr. Heather Evans (pictured, right), authors of “The Role of Race in Washington State Capital Sentencing: 1981-2014,” discuss their research and its impact on the Washington Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the state’s death penalty. Their study was heavily cited by the court in State v. Gregory, the October 2018 decision that found Washington’s death penalty violated the state constitution because it was “imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased manner.” The researchers described the factors they examined at various stages of capital sentencing, the major results of their study, and the role of social science research in policymaking.