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NCJ Number: 98437 Find in a Library
Title: Differential Sentencing Patterns Among Felony Sex Offenders and Non-Sex Offenders
Journal: Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology  Volume:75  Issue:2  Dated:(Summer 1984)  Pages:443-458
Author(s): A Walsh
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 16
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper explores whether legalistic Puritanism with regard to sex results in sanctions against sex offenders that are disproportionately harsh in relation to those received by nonsex offenders.
Abstract: Study data are derived from every felony sexual assault case for which a conviction was obtained in a Metropolitan Ohio county during the years 1978 through 1981, inclusive. A sample of felony non-sex offenders was drawn for comparison purposes. To measure the severity of each individual crime for which a sentence was imposed, a felony sentencing worksheet (FSW) guideline was used. Results indicate that 66.1 percent of the variance in sentence severity is associated with type of crime. The large standard deviations observed for each individual crime, however, reflect a great deal of inconsistency within each crime type. Nonetheless, those convicted of forcible rape received the most punitive mean sentences. The mean sentence severity scores for forcible rapists translate into sentences of 5.54 years, while those convicted of voluntary manslaughter received mean sentences of only 4.49 years. The variables of significant interest between the two groups regarding education, IQ, race, type of attorney, or trial versus plea bargain are compared. While research data leave little room for doubting the hypothesis that sex offenders are punished more severly than nonsex offenders, it is suggested that this may be more a function of the personal nature of sex offenses than their sexual nature per se. In addition, the variable of the degree of harm suffered by the victim is of central importance. Tabular data and 43 reference notes are included.
Index Term(s): Comparative analysis; Ohio; Sentencing trends; Sex offenders
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