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NCJ Number: 156718 Find in a Library
Title: Sentencing Disparities by Race of Offender and Victim: Women Homicide Offenders in Alabama, 1929-1985
Journal: Sociological Spectrum  Volume:15  Issue:3  Dated:(July-September 1995)  Pages:277-297
Author(s): P J Hanke
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 21
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study explores sentencing variations due to race among female homicide offenders in Alabama from 1929 through 1985.
Abstract: Prison records of the women (685) committed to Julia Tutwiler Prison in Alabama for homicide over the study period were examined. Although few cases were interracial, sentencing patterns suggest that the race of both offender and victim did influence sentencing. Bivariate results show that whites who killed interracially were most likely to have received light sentences of 1-5 years, and whites who killed intraracially were most likely to have received moderate to heavy sentences (6-10 or 11-20 years). By contrast, 50 percent of cases that involved African-American offenders who killed white victims received life, and African-Americans who killed other African-Americans predominantly received light sentences. Full regression models, however, show that the effect of an interracial victim-offender relationship was modified when final offense charges were considered from cases committed in pre-Civil Rights Act (1929- 1964) compared to post-Civil Rights Act (1965-1985) years. Final offense charge as well as the interracial character of the homicide heavily influenced sentencing. In the post-Civil Rights Act years, although the impact of offense charge in sentencing remained strong, the influence of any interracial nature of the homicide declined. In part, this finding can be explained by the fact that it was in these years that greater proportions of white women were sentenced to Tutwiler Prison for murder. Clearly, race must be taken into account when considering sentencing outcomes; additional research should focus on female offender characteristics alone and also compared to male offenders. 3 tables and 36 references
Main Term(s): Court procedures
Index Term(s): Alabama; Corrections policies; Female offenders; Homicide; Racial discrimination; Sentencing disparity
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