Brescia Psychology Undergraduate Honours Theses

Date of Award

Spring 4-9-2019

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Anne Barnfield

Abstract

Offender rehabilitation has more positive outcomes, yet the public prefers the punishment of incarceration. Disparity in the punitivity of sentencing has been related to age and gender of offenders, with adult, male offenders receiving more punitive, less rehabilitative sentences than youth, female offenders. The present study examined patterns of sentencing in an all female sample (N=103). After reading a crime story manipulating offender gender and age, participants were asked to “sentence” the offender. Gender of offender did not cause differences in sentences given, however youth offenders were sentenced significantly less. Participants showed no significant attitudinal differences on the Treatment Attitude Scale (TAS) related to the gender or age of the fictional offender. Furthermore, there were no significant differences in punitivity or attitude between participants in the experimental groups and control group. These results indicate that sentencing disparity based on offender gender or age may not be prevalent in all populations.

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