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Examining the impact of race and age on sentencing outcomes in cases of sexual assault and rape in Virginia

Singh, Anamika (2018) Examining the impact of race and age on sentencing outcomes in cases of sexual assault and rape in Virginia. Masters thesis, Radford University.

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Abstract

This research responds to the existing gap in the literature to answer whether the defendant’s race and age, in addition to the sentencing recommendations under the sentencing guidelines, influence the sentencing outcomes in sexual assault and rape cases among male defendants. It examines the impact of defendant’s race and age on the two-step sentencing outcome: the decision to incarcerate (called in/out decision) and the decision about the length of incarceration (called sentence length decision). In this study, the secondary source of data that is utilized for the analysis includes five years of reported cases of sexual assault and rape in Virginia. The data is obtained from the sentencing guideline worksheets compiled by the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission and the Virginia Supreme Court. We employ Heckman’s sample selection model to examine the additive effects of the defendant’s race and age on the in/out decision and the sentence length decision. Our results indicate that race and age do not significantly affect the two sentencing decisions, which is inconsistent with much prior research on violent crimes. Our results are consistent with the prior literature on sexual assault which suggests that the judges rely heavily on legal factors for the sentencing decisions in the sexual assault and rape cases.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: UNSPECIFIED
Depositing User: Anamika Singh
Date Deposited: 31 May 2019 16:13
Last Modified: 31 May 2019 16:13
URI: http://wagner.radford.edu/id/eprint/480

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