Does a therapeutic court context matter?: The likelihood of imprisonment for Indigenous and non-Indigenous offenders sentenced in problem-solving courts
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A key aspect of the focal concerns perspective of sentencing is that time and information restrictions within the courtroom create the conditions under which perceptual shorthands may impact sentencing determinations. These shorthands are based stereotypes related to offender characteristics including minority group statuses (i.e. ethnicity, race, Indigenous status) (Steffensmeier et al., 1998). To date, sentencing scholars drawing on the focal concerns perspective have only considered the impact of minority group statuses on sentencing in the mainstream courts (Mitchell, 2005; Spohn, 2000). Utilizing multiple regression techniques the current paper explores the impact of Indigenous status on the decision to imprison in the problem solving courts of South Australia. Unlike the mainstream courts, sentencing determinations within the therapeutic problem-solving court environment involve a more extensive examination of offenders and their cases and by extension, perceptual shorthands should be less influential. Evidence supporting this argument is provided by the current research. Results show a direct relationship between Indigenous status and the likelihood of imprisonment, with leniency being extended to Indigenous offenders.
International Journal of Law Crime and Justice
© 2013 Elsevier. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Courts and Sentencing