Beckett’s research focuses on the causes and consequences of the expansion of the U.S. criminal justice system. She also studies racial disproportionality in the criminal justice system, the assessment and consequences of legal financial obligations, urban social control, drug policy, and capital punishment. Over the years she has worked with a variety of civic and governmental organizations, including the Washington State Minority & Justice Commission, the ACLU’s Drug Law Reform Project, the Racial Disparity Project, and the Task Force on Race and Criminal Justice.
Provides a brief overview of the history and evolution of police discretion from the 1960s to today and explain how its exercise has been impacted in recent decades by the war on drugs and the adoption of broken windows policing.
Examines the role of race in the application of the death penalty in the wake of the Furman v. Georgia decision. Suggests that race plays a significant role in capital sentencing even where the statutory framework effectively narrows the pool of homicide cases that may result in the death penalty.