Differential Sentencing of Indigenous Offenders: What does research tell us?
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A growing body of research indicates that the differential treatment of Indigenous defendants (compared to non- Indigenous defendants) at sentencing is more complex than what is shown by baseline court statistics. For example, baseline court data on sentencing outcomes show that Indigenous offenders are more likely to be sentenced to prison than non-Indigenous defendants in Australia. However, baseline court statistics cannot account for differences in offender and case characteristics. For instance, there are well-known (and understandable) differences in the typical criminal histories of Indigenous and non-Indigenous defendants, which would affect sentencing outcomes. Once we adjust for such differences, research suggests that the disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous sentencing outcomes depends on the court environment.
Indigenous Law Bulletin
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Courts and Sentencing