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International evidence demonstrates that race correlates with the duration of sentences handed down by Courts in criminal prosecutions. Australian research on racially biased sentencing has largely focused on Indigenous defendants, and has not reflected the same International trends. However, Indigeneity is only one element of the complex ways in which Westminster criminal law systems handle race. This paper therefore explores whether the race of a defendant before the County Court of Victoria impacts upon the duration of the sentence handed down by the Court. It aims to start filling two gaps in the available research: (1) whether sentencing for non-Indigenous coloured defendants in Victoria reflects Australian trends identified in sentencing for Indigenous defendants; and (2) whether sentencing for coloured defendants in Victoria corresponds to trends identified in the United States in sentencing for coloured defendants. Using the findings from this research, the paper goes on to explore future directions and challenges for studies at the intersection of race and crime in Australia.
Daye is a part-time PhD candidate and management consultant. She is currently researching victim-centred justice, and her previous studies were in law. She has always been interested in alternative forms of justice – her past research interests include collaborative practice, international and domestic human rights, and gendered violence.