The Community and Sentencing
In this chapter, we consider the effects that urbanization, economic conditions, and crime have on three sentencing decisions. As will become apparent, the direct influence these characteristics exert is neither strong nor consistent. Indeed, both the magnitude and direction of effects vary, depending on the sentencing decision in question. We also briefly consider an issue that has traditionally concerned criminologists, namely, the extent to which sentences vary as a function of offender attributes and behavior. Consistent with the previous literature, we find that judges give greater weight to factors that can explicitly be construed as legally relevant. Although social background attributes do affect outcomes, there is no evidence that offenders with fewer resources are consistently punished more severely. As was the case for county characteristics, the role case attributes play depends on the sentencing outcome under consideration.
KeywordsIncome Dinate Glean
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