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Judges may be less harsh towards women than men when it comes to pre-trial probation. Some of the reasons may be that women generally do not have a long criminal history or commit as violent crimes as men. Women may be less to blame than men by judges as well. It may also be that the judicial system sees a cost to society by punishing women too harshly. Women are seen to be the ones that take care of the family and if they are imprisoned, it will disrupt their ability to care for those families.
Judges are aware that many women are victimized and may not be able to get used to prison environments. The argument is that women receive less severe treatment than males when it comes to pre-trial procedures. Research suggests also that women who are younger or older in age may also be given even less harsh consequences because some judges view that they are less of a threat to society.
Women who are arrested for crimes typically committed by men, may be treated more harshly than men due to what is deemed as the “evil woman hypothesis”, in this viewpoint women who commit these types of crimes do not deserve to be treated less harshly as other women might be. It is proposed that some judges do this to stress the woman’s previous place in society. There has not been much support for the evil woman viewpoint. Research had also found that women of color were more likely than white women to be detain in pre-trial.
There is also a concept that contingent on the sex of the defendant, the result of pre-trial conditions will vary depending on which county the defendant is handled in. Female defendants processed in counties with higher rates of female violent crime will receive harsher treatment during pretrial than female defendants processed in counties where there are lower rates of female violent crime. Female defendants who are processed in counties where there are more disadvantaged households will receive less harsh treatment during pretrial compared with female defendants processed in counties where there are less households of disadvantage. Female defendants processed in counties where conservative philosophy are more prevalent will receive harsher treatment during pretrial than female defendants processed in counties where conservative philosophy is less prevalent. Pinchevsky & Steiner (2016).
Unfortunately, there are also unexplained pre-trial detention influences that deter the presumption of innocence. Baughman (2017). An analysis of 412 cases in Leon County, Florida found that pre-trial detentions were a strong measure when it came to the outcome of incarceration as well as to how long the sentence might be. According to VanNostrand, Lowenkamp, Cadigan and Wooldredge, J. (2014). After controlling all factors, it was found that federal defendants who are detained before trial are more likely to be sentenced to prison and serve longer sentences. A study in Canada of 1,800 cases, found that pretrial detention was the greatest indicator of guilty pleas. There was indication that those who had financial means were more likely to be released until trial than those who were impoverished. This practice made prosperity the main reason for such a release as well as putting bondsmen in control of who could be bailed out and those who could not. Makowiecki (2015). It was also found that the reverse of pretrial services supervision has a similar, but not as harsh of an effect on sentencing. These were new consideration on the topic of the sentencing effects of pretrial detention in federal court. There were also many interpretations to be taken into consideration for the federal pretrial services system and for other decision makers within the federal criminal justice system.
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