Citizen Math used to be called Mathalicious. If you have a current account on Mathalicious, you can use those credentials to log in to your Citizen Math account. Learn more here.

# Hereby Sentence

## Is there racial bias in who gets the death penalty?

Is there evidence of racial bias in death penalty sentencing? Many U.S. states allow capital punishment for certain crimes. Some people argue that an “eye for an eye” is a fair punishment, while others believe the death penalty is unfairly imposed.

In this lesson, students analyze almost thirty years’ worth of data summarized in n-way frequency tables and discuss whether they see evidence of racial bias in who receives the death penalty and who doesn’t.

### REAL WORLD TAKEAWAYS

• Specific sets of data on the race of defendants receiving the death penalty can be interpreted to draw opposite conclusions regarding the prevalence of racial bias in sentencing.
• The race of the victim has been shown to impact the likelihood of receiving the death penalty: In Louisiana, murderers of white victims have received the death penalty three times more frequently than have murderers of black victims.

### MATH OBJECTIVES

• Interpret two-way frequency tables summarizing categorical data
• Interpret relative frequencies – including joint and conditional frequencies – in the context of the data

Appropriate most times as students are developing conceptual understanding.
Algebra 1
One-Variable Statistics
Algebra 1
One-Variable Statistics
Content Standards
Mathematical Practices