Discrimination or Differential Involvement? A Review of the Research Exploring the Impact of Indigenous Status on Sentencing
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Existing court data suggest that adult Indigenous offenders are more likely than non- Indigenous defendants to be sentenced to prison but once imprisoned generally receive shorter terms. Using findings from international and Australian multivariate statistical analyses, this paper reviews the three key hypotheses advanced as plausible explanations for these differences: 1) differential involvement, 2) negative discrimination, 3) positive discrimination. Overall, prior research shows strong support for the differential involvement thesis, some support for positive discrimination and little foundation for negative discrimination in the sentencing of Indigenous defendants. Where discrimination is found, we argue that this may be explained by the lack of a more complete set of control variables in researchers' multivariate models.
TASA 2010 Conference Proceedings:Social Causes, Private Lives
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Courts and Sentencing