An article co-authored by Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Maryland Dr. Brian Johnson was recently published in the European Journal of Criminology titled "Expanding the scope of sentencing research: Determinants of juvenile and adult punishment in the Netherlands." The article was co-authored with three other criminologists, Hide Wermick, Paul Nieuwbeerta, and Jan W. de Keijser of Leidan University in the Netherlands.
The team observed limitations on European criminology research, which led them to their study's objective. It seems that previously, the "research on legal and extralegal disparity in criminal sentencing has been conducted primarily in the United States, and, to a lesser extent, in select European nations," in addition to the "largely separate research literatures that have developed around juvenile and adult sentencing decisions, with few studies examining both prosecutorial and judicial punishment outcomes."
In light of these limitations, their study focused on: 1) "examining the effects of diverse legal and socio-demographic characteristics on both prosecutorial and judicial punishments, for both juveniles and adults," and 2) "assessing the broad generalizability of prior research and theorizing by analyzing punishment outcomes for all criminal suspects registered by the Public Prosecutor’s Office in the Netherlands in 2007."
The results of their study indicate that "offense, case-processing and criminal history characteristics weigh heavily in prosecutorial and judicial decision-making." The team also found that for juvenile and adult offenders in the Dutch justice system, there are "direct effects of age, gender and nationality on both prosecutorial and sentencing decisions." The team also discusses their findings "in relation to the broad discretion exercised by Dutch court actors" and their paper concludes with "recommendations for future sentencing research in international contexts."