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date: 09 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This essay examines recent research on gender and criminal justice processing outcomes and makes three broad conclusions. First, the benefits of gender that accrue to female offenders are general, appearing for juveniles and adults, across a variety of offenses and decision-making points, independent of race or ethnicity, and even internationally. Second, the gender penalty paid by male offenders is greatest for young black and Hispanic men. Third, outcomes are harsher when crime victims are female, especially white female, and when offenders are also male. These conclusions are largely consistent with proposed integrations of focal concerns theory with chivalry and conflict theories. Substantial gaps, however, remain for key issues such as whether being “familied” explains gender benefits and whether gender influences outcomes for status offenses. Furthermore, research on how the crime victim’s gender affects criminal justice processing is limited. Clearly, though, gender has substantial impacts on processing outcomes that merit increased theoretical and empirical attention.

Keywords: gender, criminal justice processing outcomes, offender, victim, race, ethnicity, Hispanic, juvenile, focal concerns theory, chivalry theory, conflict theory

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