Gender, crime and justice

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What gender commits the most crime?
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How many convicted offenders are male?
4 out of 5
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What do official statistics show about gender and crime?
They underestimate the amount of female offending
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Why is this?
Female crimes are less likely to be reported and thus are equally unlikely to be prosecuted
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What does 'chivalry thesis' argue?
The CJS is more lenient to women because its agents (police etc) are socialised to act chivalrously towards women
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What does Pollak (1950) argue?
Men have a protective attitude towards women, making them unwilling to use the full force of the law on them.
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What does this mean about official statistics?
That female crimes are less likely to end up in them, this gives an invalid picture of crime
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What evidence do self report surveys show about gender and crime?
Female offenders are often treated more leniently
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What did Graham and Bowling (1995) find?
Young males were 2.33 times more likely than females to admit to having commited a crime
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How does this contrast to official statistics?
These suggest that men are 4x more likely to offend
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What were women also more likely to experience?
A caution instead of a prosecution
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What did Hood's (1992) study discover?
Women were 1/3rd less likely to be jailed for a crime than a man who had committed the same
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What did Farrington and Morris (1983) find that contradicts this?
Women were not sentenced more leniently for comparable offences
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How did Box (1981) develop this?
A study of SRS suggesting that women who had committed serious offences were not treated more favourably
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What does this mean?
Women are underrepresented in crime statistics simply because their crimes are more harmless and thus do not require harsh punishment
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What did Buckle and Farrington's (1984) study observe?
Twice as many men than women shoplift. However, official statistics represent this crime as roughly equal. Thus, women are more likely to be prosecuted for this crime
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What do feminists argue?
The CJS is not biased in favour of women, but against them
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When is this especially the case?
When women deviate from the gender roles in society
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What does Heidensohn (1996) note?
That more girls are punished for sexual promiscuity than boys
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What did Carlen (1997) find about Scottish courts?
They would treat women whos children were in care more harshly than women who cared for their own children
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What does Walklate (1998) argue about cases of ****?
It is the defendant who is on trial, having to prove their respectability in order to be taken seriously
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What is the general consensus surrounding female crime?
Generally women do seem to have a lower rate of offending than men
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What theory did Parsons (1955) come up with?
Functionalist sex role theory
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What did this say?
Gender socialisation within the nuclear family can be used to explain gender differences in crime
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How is this the case?
Women perform the expressive role at home, giving girls an adult role model
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How do boys react to this?
They reject feminine models of behaviour by engaging in 'compensatory compulsory masculinity' i.e. deviance
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What does A.K.Cohen (1955) say about this?
The absence of a male role model in the home encourages boys to join all-male street gangs as a source of masculine identity. They can earn status here through acts of delinquency
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How do right-realists develop this?
They argue that the absence of male role models in the matrifocal lone-parent
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By contrast, how do feminists explain different patterns of criminality?
It terms of patriarchy
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What theory does Heidensohn (1985) provide?
Patriarchal control
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What does she argue?
Women commit fewer crimes than men because patriarchal society imposes greater control over women, reducing their opportunities to offend.
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Where can patriarchal control operate?
At home, at work and in public
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How are women controlled at home?
The expressive role restricts womens time and location mainly to the house, which limits the amount of opportunity they have to go out and commit crime. Young girls usually have more parental rules and thus create a 'bedroom culture'
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What is the 'bedroom culture'
Young girls choose to socialise at home and thus do not end up involved in gangs etc in the way that boys might
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How are women controlled in public?
Through fear of sexual assault and fear of being viewed as promiscuous. They may avoid high crime areas such as pubs because of this and thus are not often in situations where crime may occur
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How are women controlled at work?
The "glass ceiling" prevents women from achieving highly enough in their careers that they have the opportunity to commit white collar crime
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What does Carlen (1988) argue?
Most convicted serious female criminals are working class
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How is this explained?
Using Hirschi's (1969) control theory
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What does this theory say?
Humans act rationally and are controlled through "deals" that reward them for conformity. People commit crime when the rewards of the "deal" do not outweigh the rewards of the crime
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How does this support Carlen's idea?
He believes that working class women are led to conform through two deals
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What is the class deal?
Women who work will have a decent standard of living in return
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What is the gender deal?
Women who conform to the expressive role will be rewarded emotionally with family love
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How did Carlen's study say these deals had failed?
The women had failed to find a legitimate way to earn a living and had experienced poverty. Some had been abused by men and had broken family bonds
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Because of this what happened?
As they gained nothing from either deal, they had nothing to lose by committing crime to escape poverty
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What does Adler's (1975) liberation thesis sugest?
As women become free from the binds of patriarchy, their levels of criminality will become more similar to mens. Liberation has created a new kind of female criminality
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What are her arguments to prove this?
Equal opportunities allow women to adopt aspects of traditional male roles in both legitimate and illegitimate spheres. i.e. the breaking of the glass ceiling encourages more white-collar crime in women
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What, thus, is the conclusion about gender differences in crime?
Most offenders are men, especially in serious cases
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What does Messerschmidt (1993) argue fuels male criminality?
Masculinity. It is seen as an 'accomplishment'
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How is this the case?
It is something that must be accomplished in order to impress others. There are two forms that can be accessed through different means
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What is hegemonic masculinity?
The dominant form. Earned through fulfilling the patriarchal instrumental role and heterosexuality
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What is subordinated masculinity?
Masculinity that exists where the resources to achieve hegemonic masculinity are unavailable (working class, ethnic minorities, homosexuals). This leads people to crime as they cannot achieve what is expected.
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Card 2


How many convicted offenders are male?


4 out of 5

Card 3


What do official statistics show about gender and crime?


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Card 4


Why is this?


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Card 5


What does 'chivalry thesis' argue?


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