Sentencing matters - factors determining sentence type and length: An exploratory vignette study

Catrien Bijleveld, Juliana Augustinis, De Sheng Lim, Nieke Elbers, Pinelopi Apostolou, Anastasia Avramenko, Çağatay Bayramoğlu, Edgars Cebaks, Keri van Douwen, Nour Gjaltema, Tamara Karg, Klaudia Klonowska, Amber Lauwers, Nicoleta Mîrza, Nina Ranzijn, David Stefanović, Jacob Thaler, Süleyman Tosun, Angelique Truijens, Johanna WechtLisanne van der Weijde, Laura Wennekes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


We investigate factors affecting sentence type and length. Employing a vignette design, we assess whether severity of the offence, offender sex, recidivism and offender family characteristics impact the type of sentence and custodial sentence length for embezzlement in a convenience sample of adults residing in the Netherlands. We observed that restorative sanctions are a frequently chosen response as an appropriate sentence for fraud. We found that the severity of the crime and recidivism had an impact on sentence type and sentence length. We also found that female offenders are less likely to receive custodial sentences, and that they generally receive shorter sentences. Furthermore, having a family (i.e. married with dependent children), reduces custodial sentence length significantly more for women than for men. As our study was small and carried out on a non-representative sample, it can only be regarded as exploratory. Nevertheless, it reveals some interesting findings which warrant further study. We end with recommendations for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-66
Number of pages10
JournalAmsterdam Law Forum
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2021


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