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Race, Gender and the Sentencing Process: a Study of Sentencing in the District Court in New Zealand

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dc.contributor.author Deane, Heather
dc.date.accessioned 2008-09-02T05:04:30Z
dc.date.accessioned 2022-10-10T18:24:51Z
dc.date.available 2008-09-02T05:04:30Z
dc.date.available 2022-10-10T18:24:51Z
dc.date.copyright 1997
dc.date.issued 1997
dc.identifier.uri https://ir.wgtn.ac.nz/handle/123456789/21483
dc.description.abstract Few studies have attempted to examine the interaction of race and gender and sentencing. In New Zealand, there has been no such research until this study. Research overseas has reached inconclusive and conflicting results. This study examines the sentencing process in two New Zealand district courts to establish whether there was a race or gender influence at this point of the criminal justice process. A strength of this study is the methodological triangulation framework adopted. The research arose from a concern over the disproportionate representation of the Maori, New Zealand's indigenous people, in the criminal justice system. Not only are Maori in general over-represented in comparison with whites, but when gender is considered, Maori women are proportionately over-represented compared with Maori men. The first part of this study provides an examination of data collected from 1000 court files which were analysed using bivariate and multiple regression analyses. The key variables identified in predicting the sentence were seriousness of offence, criminal history and the number of current convictions. Race was not found to be a significant variable in determining the sentence. However, the analysis of these cases produced some evidence of the importance of gender in the differential sentencing between women and men. To investigate the effect of gender and race in more depth, field observations of 217 court cases were undertaken. This methodology enabled close examination of the sentencing process. This second part of the study found that almost three-quarters of the sample were remanded for pre-sentence reports (PSRs). In addition, differences in the treatment of men and women were observed, and the results showed that gender was a significant factor in the choice of a community based sentence. Finally, the third part of this research focussed on a content analysis of PSRs for these 217. The results of this analysis challenged the findings of most previous studies of such reports, especially with respect to race and gender bias. Overall, the research findings demonstrate the importance of the PSR in the sentencing process. This is the first study on sentencing in New Zealand which considers gender and race together, and as such it is exploratory. A number of questions arise from it indicating many avenues for further research. en_NZ
dc.format pdf en_NZ
dc.language en_NZ
dc.language.iso en_NZ
dc.publisher Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
dc.title Race, Gender and the Sentencing Process: a Study of Sentencing in the District Court in New Zealand en_NZ
dc.type Text en_NZ
vuwschema.type.vuw Awarded Doctoral Thesis en_NZ
thesis.degree.grantor Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
thesis.degree.level Doctoral en_NZ
thesis.degree.name Doctor of Philosophy en_NZ

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