Gender and sentencing in the Nigerian Justice System: Are women given preferential treatments?
In contemporary criminology, gender differences in criminal court outcomes for women and men are almost axiomatic. The literature has offered significant data on the impact of gender on sentence severity. However, most of these studies have been based in the United States and other developed societies, while primarily focusing on the effect that offender characteristics have on sentencing outcomes. Drawing from the theoretical position of judicial paternalism, this present study, explored gender-implied extra-legal factors that interplay in the process of sentencing in federal courts. Findings from the analyse of qualitative accounts of federal high court judges, legal counsels, police officers and prison officials, are broadly consistent with large body of literature in the field. In particular, gender related conditions like being in a state of pregnancy, nursing mothers, single mother or lone parenthood, and widowhood were found to facilitate disparate sentencing. Future research directions from this analysis are discussed.
Keywords: Criminal Justice System, Disparate Treatment, Gender, Nigeria, Sentencing