Narratives of mitigation : sentencing Indigenous criminal defendants in South Australia’s Higher Courts

Jeffries, Samantha & Bond, Christine (2010) Narratives of mitigation : sentencing Indigenous criminal defendants in South Australia’s Higher Courts. Journal of Sociology, 46(3), pp. 219-237.

View at publisher


In their statistical analyses of higher court sentencing in South Australia, Jeffries and Bond (2009) found evidence that Indigenous offenders were treated more leniently than non-Indigenous offenders, when they appeared before the court under similar numerical circumstances. Using a sample of narratives for criminal defendants convicted in South Australia’s higher courts, the current article extends Jeffries and Bond’s (2009) prior statistical work by drawing on the ‘focal concerns’ approach to establish whether, and in what ways, Indigeneity comes to exert a mitigating influence over sentencing. Results show that the sentencing stories of Indigenous and non-Indigenous offenders differed in ways that may have reduced assessments of blameworthiness and risk for Indigenous defendants. In addition, judges highlighted a number of Indigenous-specific constraints that potentially could result in imprisonment being construed as an overly harsh and costly sentence for Indigenous offenders.

Impact and interest:

12 citations in Scopus
11 citations in Web of Science®
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

209 since deposited on 29 Jun 2010
64 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 32475
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: criminal defendants, focal concerns, Indigeneity , Indigenous, Sentencing narratives
DOI: 10.1177/1440783310365584
ISSN: 1440-7833
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > CRIMINOLOGY (160200) > Courts and Sentencing (160203)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Justice
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 Sage Publications
Copyright Statement: 1. It is the Journal's policy to acquire copyright on all contributions. There are two reasons for this:
(a) ownership of copyright by the publisher ensures maximum protection against infringement of
copyright protected material through breach of copyright or piracy anywhere in the world;
(b) it also ensures that requests by third parties to reprint or reproduce a contribution, or part of it
in any format, are handled efficiently in accordance with our general policy which encourages
dissemination of knowledge inside the framework of copyright.
In return for your assignment of copyright, we undertake to publish your contribution to the Journal in a timely and
professional manner and license you with the following rights:
2. We hereby agree that you may re-publish the whole or any part of your Contribution in a printed work
written, edited or compiled by you, following publication in the Journal, provided the usual
acknowledgements are given regarding copyright notice and reference to first publication by the Journal
and SAGE. We further agree that you may make photocopies of your article for your own teaching
needs or to supply on an individual basis to research colleagues.
3. We also agree that you may post/make electronically available the abstract and up to 100% of your own
version of your paper as accepted for publication, including all corrections made by you following
peer-review on
(a) your employer’s web site or repository and/or
(b) on your own personal web site
one year following publication in the Journal, provided the usual acknowledgements* [text for
acknowledgement provided below] are given regarding copyright notice and reference to first
publication by the Journal and SAGE, and provided this is not through a third party commercial
provider, as all third party requests for use of material from the Journal should be forwarded to SAGE. In
each case we ask that you provide a link/URL from the article you have posted to the SAGE Journals
Online page where the final, definitive article is published: .
*Authors must include the following copyright acknowledgement whenever making electronically
available/posting the Contribution:
“The final, definitive version of this paper has been published in Journal of Sociology, Vol/Issue,
Month/Year by Sage Publications Ltd, All rights reserved. © The Australian Sociological Association
year of publication. It is available at: ”
Deposited On: 29 Jun 2010 00:08
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 14:18

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page