In this study, we argue that the traditional paradigm used to explain the leniency accorded to women offenders in US criminal courts ignores advances in feminist research which suggest how normative patterns that reinforce gender identities can and do change. Using data from Finland, a society generally characterized by more gender equality than is found in the USA, we examine whether an offender's sex has a significant impact on the decision to imprison. Controlling for relevant legal and social characteristics, and considering the conditional effects of labour force participation and parental responsibilities, the findings show that the often-noted preferential treatment given to female offenders, relative to their male counterparts in the USA, is not present in Finland.
- Sex disparities
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