Depending on your appearance, the scales of justice might tip differently.

Brian D. Johnson, associate professor of criminology and criminal justice, has been studying the connections between physical appearance, threat perceptions and criminal punishment. He’s found that convicted offenders with dark skin or visible tattoos or scars face tougher penalties in court, whole those who are attractive or have baby faces are less likely to receive prison sentences.

His research, which compared booking photos and sentences for a wide variety of convicted offenders, sheds new light on racial disparities in the justice system and on social inequities in punishment linked to physical appearance.