Does gender really matter? Criminal court decision making in New Zealand

Jeffries, Samantha (2002) Does gender really matter? Criminal court decision making in New Zealand. New Zealand Sociology, 17(1), pp. 135-149.


Internationally, the matter of gender difference in criminal court decision making is a contentious one, but in New Zealand little substantive research or debate has occurred on this issue. This paper attempts to remedy this deficit by summarising research findings from a larger PhD project (Jeffries, 2001) which considered the question of gender and criminal justice decision making in New Zealand. Results from this project show that a) sentencing and remand outcomes often differ for adult men and women, with the former usually receiving "harsher" sanctions, b) different factors are often considered when determining men's and women's judicial outcomes and, c) certain "types" of men and women are more likely to be extended judicial leniency. In explanation, gendered ways of viewing, understanding and judging offenders indicated the manner in which judicial processing came to be differentiated by sex. Theoretically, these findings can be partially understood using chivalry, paternalism, social control and social cost arguments. However, by themselves, none of these theoretical perspectives are considered complete and a more integrated theory of gender and criminal justice processing is called for.

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ID Code: 8608
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: For more information, please refer to the journal’s website (see hypertext link) or contact the author.
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Keywords: gender, sentencing
ISSN: 0112-921X
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2002 Victoria University of Wellington
Deposited On: 18 Jul 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2009 07:38

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