This study of gender composition in the courtroom workgroup and the gender gap in punishment found that gender diversity explains neither variations in court outcomes nor the presence of observed gender disparities and, as such, male protectionism is insufficient to explain the more lenient treatment of women in Florida’s criminal courts.
The study finds that the gender diversity of the courtroom workgroup does not explain variations in court outcomes, nor does it explain the presence of gender disparities observed in all but one case outcome. As such, male protectionism is insufficient to explain the more lenient treatment of women in Florida’s criminal courts. For decades, research has revealed a gender disparity in criminal case outcomes. This phenomenon was traditionally explained as a product of male court actors’ protectiveness of women and the minimization of female threat. In the current study, the authors capitalize on the increasing gender diversity of courts to examine if the gender gap in punishment is explained by the gender composition of the decision-making body in criminal courts: the courtroom workgroup. Using a sample of felony cases from Florida’s circuit courts in 2017 (N = 10,605), the authors measure workgroups as judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys assigned to the same division. (Published Abstract Provided)
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