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Gender and ethnic bias in sentencing - a study using Brazilian microdata

  • Start date: 01 June 2010
  • End date: 31 May 2011

This research is concerned with social justice in Brazil, focusing on criminal justice and examining whether different racial/gender groups are treated equally.

The research focus is on sentence length disparity, both in terms of sentence awarded and in sentence served. Examining combined race-gender biases will be an important component. Specifically, the research will look at differences in length of prison sentence served or awarded by race and gender whilst taking account of any relevant variables that the data allows. The main data source comes from the prison system in the state of Rio de Janeiro, which will allow the calculation of length of sentence served and this will be used as our outcome measure. Data on length of sentence actually received also exists but may have less reliability. Finally, victim surveys such as ILANUD will be investigated in order to assess attitudes to fairness of the criminal justice system.

A research network will be built by setting up events for practitioners and users in Brazil and in Europe. Quantitative skills in Brazil will be developed by running a three day short course. Dissemination will be by academic publications, conferences in Europe and the UK, and a project website.