The Effects of Gender on Sentencing Outcome for Embezzlement Under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines

Barbara A. Sharp, University of Maryland at College Park

This study takes an in-depth look at how gender influences the adjudication decisions of male and female offenders convicted of embezzlement under the federal guidelines system during fiscal year 1999. Specifically, it is a test of whether females are treated more leniently in a system that supposedly refuses to take such factors into account. The major questions are whether women convicted of embezzlement receive downward departures outside of the guideline range more often, whether their sentences will reflect more lenient options such as probation, and whether those women sentenced to prison would receive shorter terms than their male counterparts. The study finds that final offense level as determined by the court is more influential in the adjudication decision than gender. Possible explanations for this finding are explicated and future research questions are posed for the study of gender effects under a guidelines system.

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Updated 05/20/2006