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Unequal justice: How Newsday did its data analysis

Newsday obtained 100,000 arrest cases and 70,000 sentencing records of 33 “stop and frisk” criminal charges from 2005 to 2016 through a request made to the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services.

Local police and court officials report to the state arrests and as well as outcomes — whether the individual was convicted or not and if convicted, what punishment they faced.

In cases in which an individual is arrested with multiple charges, the state records only the most serious charge he or she faced at the time of the arrest. If someone is charged with a felony and a misdemeanor, only the felony charge is counted towards the state record. If an individual is arrested with multiple kinds of misdemeanors, only the most serious misdemeanor is recorded.

The state records did not indicate whether an arrested individual had a prior conviction.

An individual can be arrested and the case adjudicated more than once in a given year. While the state could not provide Newsday with the breakdown of such instances for the 33 charges Newsday has looked at, it estimated that 10 percent of all criminal dispositions consisted of people with multiple dispositions in 2015 on Long Island.

In addition, the Nassau County Police Department did not properly report Hispanic arrests to New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services for six years, from 2007 to 2012.

Newsday compared the rate of arrests for whites and non-whites by comparing the number of arrests for each racial group to the Census Bureau population. The state has five racial groups: White, Black, Hispanic, Asian/Indian, Other-Unknown Race. Newsday calculated the rate of sentencing by comparing the number of those who were sentenced jail or prison time to those who were arrested. Newsday also looked at the racial make-up of all 33 misdemeanor and felony arrests, and those who were sentenced for each arrest charge.

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