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Women Defendants in Court - The Interaction Between Sex and Race in Convicting and Sentencing

NCJ Number
Social Science Quarterly Volume: 66 Issue: 1 Dated: (March 1985) Pages: 178-185
C Spohn; S Welch; J Gruhl
Date Published
8 pages
Social scientists who have compared the treatment of male and female defendants in court have reached contradictory conclusions. This study analyzes convicting and sentencing data for black and white male and female defendants in one large northeastern city in the United States in order to determine if female defendants are treated more leniently, more harshly, or no differently than male defendants.
The analysis reveals an interaction between race and sex that has heretofore gone unnoticed. While black women are less likely than black men to be incarcerated or sentenced harshly, their sentences are comparable to those of white men. (Author abstract)