Gender, Crime and Justice

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  • Gender, Crime and Justice
    • Do Women Commit More Crime?
      • Some sociologists and criminologists argue that the statistics underestimate the amount of female as against male offending
      • Two arguments been put forward in support of this view
        • Typically 'female' crimes are less likely to be reported, for example, prostitution is unlikely to be reported by either the male or female party.
        • They are less likely to be prosecuted or, if prosecuted, more likely to be let of relatively lightly.
    • The Chivalry Thesis
      • The thesis argues that most criminal justice agents are men, and men are socialised to act in a 'chivalrous' way towards women.
      • Pollak argues that men have a protective attitude towards women and that they hate to accuse women and dislike to arrest them.
        • Therefore, the criminal justice system is more lenient with women and so their crimes are less likely to end up in the official statistics.
      • Hood's study of over 3000 defendants found that women were about one-third less likely to be jailed in similar cases.
    • Evidence Against the Chivalry Thesis
      • Box review of British and America  self-report studies concluded that women who commit serious offences are not treated more favourably than men.
      • Self-report Studies: provide evidence that males commit more offences, young men are more likely to drink, take illegal drugs or engage in disorderly conduct.
      • Crimes of the powerful are also under-represented and these are more likely to be committed by men.
    • Bias Against Women
      • Many feminists feel that the criminal justice system is bias against women
        • Heidensohn argues that courts treat females more harshly than males when they deviate form their gender norms.
      • Double standards: court punish girls but not boys for premature or promiscuous sexual activity.
      • Women who do not conform to accepted standards of monogamous heterosexuality and motherhood are punished more harshly.
      • Carlen argues that when women are jailed it is less for the seriousness of their crimes and more according to the ourt's assessment of them as wives, mothers and daighters.
      • Feminists argue that double standards exist because the criminal justice system is patriarchal.


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