Abstract

Using the data on 1.5 million defendants prosecuted in Russian criminal courts in 2009 - 1st half of 2010, I examine how sex, family and professional status affect sentencing decisions. The findings indicate that judges treat women, defendants with family and higher professional position more leniently. Women have higher odds of being convicted than men. However, this effect is not strong and can be caused by lower chances to reconcile the case when the defendant is women. In public prosecution, the decisions to incarcerate were gender biased while the decisions to convict or to discharge the case were not. Amongst defendants with family and higher professional position women have lesser odds to be incarcerated than men. The findings support the hypothesis about different effects of family status for male and female defendants what could be referred to the differences in gender roles performed by men and women in a family. However, the hypothesis that men with high professional status have more chances for lenient sentence than women was not confirmed. Basing on the gender inequality in the labor market, I expected that difference in power and financial resources between male and female white-collars would lead to higher chances of more lenient sentences for male defendants with high professional status as compared to female defendants. The analysis shows the opposite effect. One of the possible explanations could be the selection bias of prosecution when cases with most powerful defendants are dismissed on stages before being brought to trial. The results suggest that gender regimes in different social institutions can indirectly interact with each other.

Keywords: court statistics, sentencing decisions, judicial biases, gender, gender inequality, family, professional status