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Publication Title

Journal of Criminal Justice


Purpose: While disparities in the treatment of individuals in the criminal justice system have been well-documented, due to varying political and legal contexts it is likely that disparities may differ for perpetrators of extremism. This research examines the effects of gender and mental health status on criminal justice outcomes of individuals who have been accused of committing ideologically motivated crimes in the United States. Methods: Using the Extremist Crime Database (ECDB) and logistic and ordinary least-squares (OLS) regression models, this study estimates the effects of these individual characteristics on adjudication method and sentence length, and isolates pre/post-2001 time-periods. Results: The findings suggest that women are more likely to plead guilty and receive shorter sentences, but time-period and the status of ‘terrorist’ is an important factor for the influence of gender. Additionally, mental health can lead to contrasting outcomes, depending on the circumstances. Conclusions: These findings highlight the divergent treatment of extremist perpetrators, specifically noting that gender and mental health can be influential factors after controlling for ideology and other associated factors. Importantly, the findings suggest that the role of gender and mental health on legal outcomes maybe vary based on contextual factors that are shaped by policies specific to this crime type.

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