A more recent version of these Gender notes – written by Oxford students – is available here.
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GENDER AND CRIME (HEIDENSOHN AND SILVESTRI, 2012) THEMES IN A FEMINIST CRITIQUE OF CRIMINOLOGY Amnesia/NeglectSince women account for only a small proportion of known offenders, less attention is given to them as compared to men Major studies and trial programmes are usually targeted at men
DistortionWhere considered, women are depicted in terms of stereotypes Smart (1976): female offenders were viewed as being abnormal deviants
Key issues (Daly and Chesney-Lind, 1988)Generalisabiity problem o Can theories describing/addressing men's offending be applied to women?
Gender ratio problem o Why do women commit less crime than men o Possibility that women/girls are subject to closer supervision by parents than males?
? Greater extent of social control results in fewer opportunities to offend
INCREASING FEMALE CRIME RATES Offending statistics--"Theft and handling stolen goods" is the most common offence group for which males and females are prosecuted o 44% of females and 28% of males are prosecuted for this category Violence against the person is the most common offence for arrests o 34% of adult females and 31% of males arrested o Girls' arrest rates for violence increased in the 2000s whilst the BCS showed overall violent crime had fallen Women form the majority in a few offences o Prostitution, failure to pay for TV licence, children's truancy Women commit fewer crimes (20% of known offenders) and have shorter criminal careers o 80% stop offending within a year (compared with 55% of men) Gender ratio changed from 7:1 in 1950s to 5:1 in 2000 Hedderman (2010): changes might be explained by "a change in police behaviour" towards women's crimes (especially violent offences) o Alternatively, the increased proportion of violent crimes might be due not only to increased arrests for such crimes but also decreased overall numbers o Sharpe and Gelsthorpe (2009): violent acts form a high proportion of girls' offences because of "non-participation in other crimes" Gelsthorpe (2002): the slight increase in violent/drug crimes is not enough to account for the huge increase in female imprisonment rates
Adler (1975): liberation causes crime
This view is still very much alive in the media today o Concern over "ladettes", girl gangs, etc. Sharpe and Gelsthorpe (2009): shift from a concern over girls' sexuality to include a concern over the level of violence they are engaged in
Steffensmeier (2006): policy change thesis-
Examining US crime data "no meaningful or systematic change in women's involvement in crimes of interpersonal violence", statistical changes are due to policy changes "toward enhanced identification and criminalisation of violence in general and of women's violence in particular" Challenged by Lauristen (2009): reached a different conclusion based on the same results
Worall (2004): increased criminalisation of behaviour"welfarisation" and "soft policing" means that behaviour which used to be subject to social control mechanisms is now treated as being criminal Recorded increases of violent offending are usually in relation to minor forms of offending not involving weapons o Most of the victims are care workers or police officers: behaviour which might have previously been treated as a welfare issue
Burman and Batchelor (2009): increased politicisation of youth crime-
"what we are witnessing is not an increase in violent offending per se, but the increased reporting, recording and prosecuting of young women accused of violent offences" The resulting change of system responses might increase policing of girls' behaviour o Resulting in a self-fulfilling prophesy (Steffensmeier 2009)
GENDER AND POLICING Entry of women into policing was a result of first wave feminismCarrier (1988): seen as a means of offering protection to female and juvenile offenders and victims who would be neglected by an all-male force In 2010, 26% of the police force in England and Wales was female In 1995, Britain appointed its first female chief constable
Remnant discriminationHeidensohn (2000): evidence of "macho cop culture, manifested in sexual discrimination and sexual harassment of women officers by their male colleagues" Loftus (2008): despite increased representation and support for women and minorities, there is still discrimination present o Since the "white, heterosexual male" majority viewed the emphasis on diversity as "excessive and unwarranted"
MEN AND CRIME Connell (1995): framework of assessing masculinity
There are complex and multiple masculinities o Hegemonic masculinities: associated with heterosexuality and toughness o Subordinated masculinities: associated with homosexuality and other traits Masculinities can change over time and place and can be adopted even by women
Messerschmidt (1993): gender as a "situational accomplishment"Marginalised groups search for other ways to assert their masculinity via crime Crime is a means of "doing gender"
Hall and Winlow (2005): competitive individualism and instrumentalityRising crime and violence amongst working class men is a result of the need to satisfy ambitions and desires Psychosocial framework: actions are guided by an attempt to deal with their own past experiences and failures
SENTENCING OF WOMEN Chivalry/LeniencyAllen (1987): violent women offenders received more sympathetic and individualised justice for serious crimes Hood (1992): women less likely to receive custodial sentences Not widely accepted: sentencing trends are more complicated than this Daly (1994): in the USA, children were the recipients of "judicial paternalism" rather than the women themselves o Men and women were generally sentenced similarly for like crimes
Enforcing stereotypesWorrall (2004): female offenders are seen as "perversions of normal femininity" Eaton (1986): men and women who conformed to conventional roles were treated better than those who didn't (e.g. homosexuals or single mothers) Edwards (1984): additional harshness in Crown courts for violent offences o Punishment for going against the gender stereotype Heidensohn (1996): there are additional negative implications from sentencing o Stigma associated with deviance from the gender and social norms
Gelsthorpe and Loucks Hedderson(1997): interviewed magistrates o Viewed female offenders as "troubled" rather than "troublesome" o Reluctance to give fines where the women were caring for children without independent means
? ISSUE: does this result in up-tariffing to community penalties Farrington and Morris (1983): for men, the nature of the offence is more important. For women, the background of the offender is more important.
StatisticsWomen form 52% of general population but 5% of prison population Hedderman (2010): increase of 68% between 1997 and 2008 for female inmate population, compared to a 35% increase for men Home Office (2004): the courts impose "more severe sentences on women for less serious offences"
This is not due to the increase in female offending but more frequent use of custody in relation to women who are being sentenced o BUT Gelsthorpe (2002): "little evidence of an increased punitiveness solely towards women" Women sentenced for indictable offences have fewer previous convictions Greater proportion of women receive cautions and fines instead of immediate custody or community sentences o Hough (1994): no evidence of discrimination against women in sentencing (neither leniency nor increased harshness) oDITTMAN AND ANDERSON  EWCA CRIM 957-
Another woman had taken D's theory test for her and A attempted to take D's driving practical test for her, both pled guilty to fraud by representation D (51 yrs) had a 13 yr old son and no previous convictions, A (39 yrs) had 2 children (4 and 12 yrs) with no previous convictions Pre-sentence reports indicated low risks of reoffending CA (McCombe): upheld 2 months imprisonment o The judge "passed a sentence that was significantly lower than that which might have been justified if those family circumstances had not been present" o "It cannot be allowed to emerge into public understanding that family responsibilities such as those urged upon us will relieve an offender of the normal consequences of offending" IMPLICATION: children are a relevant consideration, but cannot avoid a sentence entirely as a result
PRISONS Originally, women were placed into the same prison system as men-
Variations have been gradually introduced, possibly for welfare reasons Historical development: welfare-centred o Use of benevolently repressive regimes to emphasise the stereotypical norms of dependent and traditional femininity o Heidensohn: usually based on assumed characteristics and needs rather than actual evidence of what women need o Holloway Prison was built to provide a therapeutic environment for women offenders to be treated Carlen: use of "carceral clawback" o Prison is seen as a place for treatment and rehabilitation of women offenders o Programmes are usually based on male models (e.g. cognitive skills trainings)
? Since female offenders are made to complete these programmes in prison despite the programme not being adapted to them, they have poorer outcomes
ISSUE: WOMEN HAVE DIFFERENT NEEDS AND VULNERABILITIESWhat works for men might not work for them 66% of women have dependent children o Only 5% remain in their own home, the rest get sent to care
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