Disparities in sentencing depending on ethnicity, gender, and age as an outcome of discrimination within the Swedish legal system: an intersectional analysis

Detta är en Magister-uppsats från Malmö universitet/Fakulteten för hälsa och samhälle (HS)

Sammanfattning: Previous research has indicated that disparities in sentencing exist within legal systems depending on social characteristics such as ethnicity, gender, and age. The purpose of this study is to investigate what kind of disparities in sentencing are present within the Swedish legal system. It hypothesizes that variations in sentencing are affected by stereotypical perceptions of offenders in regard to ethnicity, gender, and age as well as a legal system that is governed by Swedish norms and values. The data of the study derive from 164 previous convictions from the 2017 issue of Stockholm’s Tingsrätt. The data were analyzed through Ordinary Least Square analysis (OLS) and binary analysis to identify the best predictor of ethnicity, gender, and age in sentencing outcomes as well as examine interaction effects within the social groups. The results of the study are in line with those of previous research and illustrate tendencies toward disparities in sentencing outcomes depending on the social characteristics of ethnicity, gender, and age. In addition, the interaction effects indicate that the social features of youth, non- Swedish nationality, and male gender in combination reflected the highest risk of harsh sentencing compared to other combinations. Sentencing disparities are arguably outcomes of stereotypical perceptions of offenders and an “ethnically” Swedish legal system that is governed by Swedish norms and values. Further research is required to enhance knowledge of disparities in sentencing due to the effect of an “ethnically” Swedish legal system. Such research is needed to determine how provisions that concern equality can become actual conditions.

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