Gender disparity in sentencing outcomes has been well established in literature. Recent research has increasingly paid attention to social contexts within which judicial decision-making occurs. This study combines these two lines of research by dissecting the nature of gender disparity through ecological lenses. Using 2008–2010 federal sentencing data, we examine the roles of religious and political conservatism in affecting gender-based sentencing disparity. We find that religious and political conservatism reduces gender disparity, with the female discount dissipating in court communities with higher levels of religious and political conservatism. We also find that the conditioning effects of both religious conservatism and political conservatism on gender disparity further interact with race, with black female defendants more likely to be influenced by religious and political conservatism than their white counterparts. Overall, this study contributes to sentencing literature by demonstrating that gender disparity is deeply entrenched in the ecological contexts of court communities.
- ecological contexts
- federal sentencing
- gender disparity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine