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Sentencing Homicide Offenders in the Netherlands: Offender, Victim, and Situational Influences in Criminal Punishment

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 48 Issue: 4 Dated: November 2010 Pages: 981-1018
Brian D. Johnson; Sigrid Van Wingerden; Paul Nieuwbeerta
Date Published
November 2010
38 pages
This study investigated factors affecting sentencing of homicide offenders in the Netherlands.
Empirical investigations of criminal sentencing represent a vast research enterprise in criminology. However, this research has been restricted almost exclusively to U.S. contexts, and often it suffers from key data limitations. As such, an examination of more detailed international sentencing data provides an important opportunity to assess the generalizability of contemporary research and theorizing on criminal punishment in the United States. The current study investigates little-researched questions about the influence of prosecutorial sentencing recommendations, victim/offender relationships, and extralegal disparities in sentencing by analyzing unique data on the punishment of homicide offenders in the Netherlands. The results indicate that offender, victim, and situational offense characteristics all exert important independent effects at sentencing and that prosecutorial recommendations exert powerful influences over judicial sentences. The article concludes with a discussion of future directions for comparative sentencing research across international contexts. Tables, figures, and references (Published Abstract)