Judges punish ‘foreign looking’ criminals harder

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Dutch judges are five times more likely to send a criminal to jail if the suspect has a foreign appearance, researchers from Leiden University found out.

That likelihood increases to 20 times if the suspect does not speak Dutch.

The researchers checked for expected variables such as the features of the crime, the likelihood of the suspect to commit further crimes, and the location of the court.

Judges not only discriminated against foreigners with a non-Dutch appearance, but also against men. Women are three times less likely to end in jail than men who committed the same crimes. Only lighter crimes, including theft, assault, battery and traffic violations were studied.

A factor that did not influence the weight of the punishment was whether suspects showed they were sorry.

The researchers expressed concern that people receive a prison sentence when community or a fine would have sufficed, because prison sentence are known to kick-start criminal careers.

(Via: NRC. Link: Leiden University)

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