When it comes to sentencing, the poor generally receive tougher penalties and longer prison terms than do the more affluent convicted of the same crimes. The race of the victims seems to play a role in the harshness of sentencing as well. Regardless of the murderer's race, those murdering whites are more likely to receive the death sentence than those killing minorities. Nonetheless, the criminal justice system and prison system serve society in several potentially useful ways: • By being placed in jail, convicted criminals receive “just rewards,” or retribution, for their crimes. • Prisons ideally should deter crimes. As the theory goes, prisons are supposed to keep released criminals from offending again and potential criminals from committing crimes. The social research on this question of deterrence provides mixed results. Prison seems to deter
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