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Ethnicity, attributions for offending behaviour, and judgements of responsibility and severity of sentence

Field, C., Beven, J.P. and Pedersen, A. (2008) Ethnicity, attributions for offending behaviour, and judgements of responsibility and severity of sentence. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 15 (1). pp. 119-130.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13218710701879533
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Abstract

An attribution model was used to explore whether a male offender’s ethnicity impacted on how responsible he was judged to be for his offending behaviour in a sample drawn from the Perth metropolitan community in Western Australia and how severe the imposed sentence was perceived to be. While an offender’s ethnicity had no direct effect on judgements of responsibility and sentence severity, the causal factors for an offence were attributed as more stable when the offender was identified as an Indigenous Australian. Responsibility was predicted by attributions of controllability for both Anglo-Australian and Indigenous offenders, and locus of control for Indigenous offenders only. Severity of sentence was predicted by locus of control for both Anglo-Australian and Indigenous offenders; stability for Indigenous offenders; and being male and responding to a violent offence for Anglo-Australian offenders. A number of theoretical and practical implications arising from these findings are discussed.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Law
School of Psychology
Publisher: Routledge
Copyright: Taylor and Francis
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/5554
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