Equality and diversity in the work of the Sentencing Council
This report is commissioned by the Sentencing Council for England and Wales. It examines whether the guidelines published by the Council have the potential to cause disparities in sentencing, and whether the guideline development and revision processes are inclusive enough. The guidelines on three types of offences were sampled: robbery, theft and harassment. The overarching guideline for children and young people was also examined. Drawing on co-production, text analysis and quantitative analysis of the Crown Court Sentencing Survey data, the report reaches 4 key findings: 1) the current guidelines and sentencing approach might have given more emphasis to aggravating factors than mitigating factors; 2) Cultural and ethnic dynamics might not have been taken into account in the phrasing of certain mitigating and aggravating factors, they need to be reviewed and revised, for instance, 'good character', 'remorse', 'sole and primary carer'; 3) In the 3 types of crimes reviewed, racial disparity is not evident in criminal sentencing at the Crown Court level; 4) there is some evidence of gender disparity, but the findings do not support the widely possessed presumption that females are treated more favourably than males.