Student Project

Does defendant gender cause differences in criminal sentence length?

Criminal sentencing is determined by a judge in a trial. Compounding to the subjectivity and interpretability of the law, judges are fallible to biases like any other individual. The purpose of this study is to determine whether the gender of a criminal has an impact on the length of their sentenced jail time post arrest. Observational studies such as those from Professor Starr et al. from the University of Michigan establish a correlation between gender and severity of punishment. These studies suggest that women receive lighter criminal sentences than men, often because they are perceived to be less threatening than their male counterparts.

Here, we conduct an experiment that examines whether gender has an impact on criminal sentences. A similar study was conducted by Desanttes and Kayson of Iona College in 1997 where sentencing severity was measured as a function of attractiveness, race, and sex.

Last updated:

September 3, 2019