A study of ethnic prejudice among convicted felons



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The purpose of this study was to determine the amount of ethnic prejudice evident among convicted felons when each was tested individually. Method: The data for this study were collected by testing a random sample of 200 inmates incarcerated at the Eastham Unit of the Texas Department of Corrections. After each man tested divulged demographic data and completed Milton Rokeach's Dogmatism Questionnaire, he was shown a series of forty-five slides, each containing the "mug shot" of three inmates. Each "mug shot" was that of an inmate from a different ethnic group, Anglo-Ameriican, Afro-American and Mexican-American. As each viewer watched a slide, he heard a brief description of a crime. He was then asked to select one of the three men from the slide whom he thought committed the crime. Findings: From the analysis of the data in this study the following conclusions were drawn. 1. When individually tested, perception of criminality is not primarily a function of ethnic background of the perceiver among convicted felons. The men from all three ethnic groups responded quite similar to the perception test. 2. The highly dogmatic person did not tend to pick criminals from his own ethnic group any more or less than did others. No significant connection was evident between dogmatism and perception of criminality. 3. Clear patterns of ethnic stereotyping were evident in the type of crimes attrbuted to each group. Forgery, fraud, D.W.I., robbery and receiving stolen property were attributed primarily to Anglo-Americans. Possession of narcotics was attributed primarily to Mexican-Americans. Aggravated Assault and theft were thought to be primarily Afro-American crimes.



Prejudices., Race awareness., Racism., Prisoners.