Gendered Justice: The Impact of Attributions in the Processing of Juvenile Offenders

Stacy L. Mallicoat, California State University, Fullerton

Attribution theory focuses on the interpretative meanings of offending behaviors that is, what observers believe causes a person to engage in crime, and the perceived culpability of the offender. The current study focuses on the application of attribution theory to understand whether, how and why differential treatment by gender occurs in the processing of juvenile offenders. This paper addresses (1) whether differences in probation officers' descriptions of male and female offenders exist that cannot be explained by the seriousness of the crime or the criminal history of the offender; and (2) how these descriptions affect sentencing recommendations and outcomes for males and females.

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Updated 05/20/2006