JSB173 Week 7 Exam Revision.docx

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Queensland University of Technology
Dr.Samantha Jeffries

JSB173 Week 7 Revision The Criminal Courts, Indigenous Australians and Gender  Research has shown that women are less likely to appear in court and when they are established as guilty they receive less harsh sentences, shorter imprisonment terms and more likely than men to be granted early release on parole.  Research has also shown that Indigenous people are over-represented in the courts and compared to non-indigenous people usually receive harsher sentences.  At first glance, one might say the criminal justice system is sexist, racist or biased because of these sentencing and treatment disparities. However, it is easy to forget that other issues such as social, economical etc. may be at play here and contribute towards the overall disparities.  Criminologists have put forwards three possible hypotheses to explain the differences in this court data: o Differential involvement o Negative discrimination o Positive discrimination Differential Involvement Hypothesis  Existing differences in other relevant factors which may influence sentencing and contact with the system, for example the over-representation of Indigenous peoples could instead be due to their higher rate of committing serious crimes. In this case, there would be no discrimination on behalf of the court because other relevant legal factors have influenced the decision. Negative Discrimination Hypothesis  Some argue that a person’s race or other factors actually will contribute to sentencing outcomes etc. and that ethnic minority groups are likely to be discriminated against.  This is because offender characteristics such as gender or ethnicity may influence judicial decisions relating to offender blameworthiness and culpability as well as assessment of risk to the community in future.  Increased pressure and shorter times to make decisions can influence judges to make de
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