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Gender and Sentencing: A Canadian Perspective

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Title: Gender and Sentencing: A Canadian Perspective
Author: Cahill, Sarah
Department: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Program: Criminology and Criminal Justice Policy
Advisor: Dawson, Myrna
Abstract: The debate surrounding the impact of gender on sentence severity is ongoing. The majority of the research contributing to this debate has been based in the United States and has focused primarily on the effect that offender characteristics have on sentencing outcomes. This study utilizes 28 years of homicide data from a large Canadian urban jurisdiction to examine the effect that the gender of both the victim and offender has on determining sentence length. Results show that an offender’s gender alone has no effect on sentence length, but that offenders who kill female victims receive longer sentences and male offenders who kill female offenders receive the longest sentences. A deep-sample exploratory qualitative analysis further demonstrates that other gendered factors such as prior victimization and familial roles may have an impact on sentencing decisions in Canada. Future research directions from this analysis are discussed.
Date: 2012-08
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