The Impact of Indigenous Status on Adult Sentencing: A Review of the Statistical Research Literature From the United States, Canada, and Australia
The gross overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in prison populations suggests that sentencing may be a discriminatory process. Using findings from recent (1991-2011) multivariate statistical sentencing analyses from the United States, Canada, and Australia, we review the 3 key hypotheses advanced as plausible explanations for baseline sentencing discrepancies between Indigenous and non-Indigenous adult criminal defendants: (a) differential involvement, (b) negative discrimination, and (c) positive discrimination. Overall, the prior research shows strong support for the differential involvement thesis and some support for the discrimination theses (positive and negative). We argue that where discrimination is found, it may be explained by the lack of a more complete set of control variables in researchers' multivariate models and/or differing political and social contexts.
Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice
Courts and Sentencing