Using data from the United States Sentencing Commission, the present study examines the role of guideline departures in the sentencing of male and female defendants in federal courts. Findings indicate that female defendants continue to have lower odds of incarceration and to receive shorter sentence length terms, even after legal, extralegal, and contextual factors are controlled. The largest gender difference in the odds of incarceration was found for defendants who received substantial assistance departures, while male and female defendants in this same category were given the most similar sentence lengths. When departure status was examined as a dependent variable, it was found that female defendants were more likely to receive a sentencing departure. Finally, for both males and female defendants sentenced on multiple counts, those who went to trial and had prior criminal histories were less likely to receive sentencing departures. But defendants with higher guidelines sentences, those who had committed drug offenses, and those with more education were more likely to receive a sentencing departure.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jill_doerner/2/