Does Victim Gender Increase Sentence Severity? Further Explorations of Gender Dynamics and Sentencing Outcomes
Theoretical and empirical research pertaining to the influence of gender on sentencing outcomes has focused almost exclusively on the gender of offenders. What this literature has not fully considered is how the gender of crime victims might affect sentencing outcomes. Using data for offenders convicted of three violent crimes in the seven largest metro counties in Texas in 1991, the authors find evidence that offenders who victimized females received substantially longer sentences than offenders who victimized males. Results also show that victim gender effects on sentence length are conditioned by offender gender, such that male offenders who victimize females received the longest sentence of any other victim gender/offender gender combination. However, whereas these effects are observed for sentence length, no victim gender effects are observed on whether offenders received an incarcerative or nonincarcerative sentence. The authors address the implications of their findings for theory and subsequent research.