Crime and Deviance 2





  • At all stages of the criminal justice system women are less likely to be convicted than men. 
  • Men are three times more likely to be taken to court and convicted. Men are five times more likely to be arrested. 
  • Men are 19 times more likely to be in prision. 
  • In 2012 the highest number of female offenses were for shoplifting- 45%. 

Chivalry thesis:

  • Argues that officials in the criminal justice system are more likely to let women off as suspects or to punish them less severly. 
  • This is the idea of 'chivalry' or that men are socialised to be softer and protective towards women. 
  • Roe and Ashe:
    • Self report studies suggest that the official stats for female offending are unrepresentitive. 
    • 5% of men and 3% of women were classed as frequent offenders- however official statistics present that men are 4 times more likely than women to commit crimes- therfore women can get away with crime more easily. 
  • Graham and Bowling:
    • Looked at self report studies and found that although men were more likely to commit crimes the differences between males and females where not as wide as presented by stats. 
  • Allen:
    • 1987 criminal stats showed a leniancy towards female offenders. 
  • Critisms
    • Box: reviewed self report studies and found that although there was some leniancy towards females- most did not. Therefore the stats could be considered mostly inaccurate. 
    • 'Double deviance': courts are imposing more serious sentances on women than men for less serious sentances. 
    • Hedderman: rates of female imprisionment have been rising througout the 2000s. 

Bias against women:

  • Walkgate:
    • Feminist arguement that women are biased against the criminal justice system. 
    • At **** trials women's complaints are not taken seriously and often the female ended up being questioned on their credibility/ sexual history. 
  • Westmarland
    • Women being trafficked as sex workers are often not treated with respect by the authorities and are commonly deported. 

Double standards in the criminal justice system:

  • Heidensohn:
    • The system is gendered, so males and females experiance the system differently. 
    • Women are seen as 'double deviants' when they deviate from the norms in behaviour associated with femininity- as they have broken the laws of society as well as commiting a crime. 
    • Women will be treated differently based on how they are seen and percieved.
  • Steward:
    • Gender played a part in deciding whether to reprimand women into custody. 
    • Final decisions often made on gender linked moral judgements on the 'worth' of the individual. 
  • Hedderman:
    • The differences in sentancing should not always be seen as biased. 
    • Men and women can be affected differently by prision. Eg the impact of prision on a women with children would be different to a mane without these responsibilities. 

Liberation theory:

  • Adler:
    • Increasing crime rate for women can be linked to their freedom from tradition forms of control. 
    • Female crime cannot be explained in biological terms- the differences between men and women are socially determined and therefore social changes…


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