2 QUESTION 1; why is it that statistically, there are more male criminals than female?
3 BIOLOGICAL EXPLANATIONS Before the emergence of the feminist perspective, women were largely invisible in sociological research.When they were considered, the analysis tended to see female crime as a special case which resulted from characteristics linked to biology.
4 Biological TheoriesLombrosso and Ferrero (1895) stated that biology tends to prevent women from becoming criminals.Although women do have a deficient moral code, this is neutralised by natural feminine characteristics.These include piety, maternity, sexual coldness and an underdeveloped intelligence.
5 Pollak (1950) & Moir & Jessel (1997) Pollak argued that due to female biology women were good at hiding crimesWomen have learnt to lie to men, hiding pain and discomfort during periods and fake interest and pleasure during sexMoir & Jessel’s more recent research supports the biological argument as they found that a large percentage of women get away with charges of violent crime due to PMS
6 Sex – Role theoryTalcott Parsons (1937) stated that because child rearing is done by mothers, girls have a clear role model.They are likely to follow in their mother’s footsteps and less likely to turn to crime.Heidensohn (1996) states that informal social control discourages women from straying from “decent” behaviour.Females are controlled by their given role as mother and wife and as they are bound to the home environment they rarely have the opportunity to leave the home and commit crime
7 Chivalry Thesis Graham (1992) & Bowling (1995) This is the concept that women are let off lightly by the criminal justice systemResearch based on self-report studies revealed that gender differences in criminal behaviour were not as great as the differences in statistics55% of males and 31% of females admitted to committing offences.Similar results were found within the Youth Lifestyle Survey (1998-9)11% of females admitted to offending compared to 26% of malesThese figures suggest that some difference in the likelihood of being convicted between the genders
8 Chivalry ThesisAnn Campbell (1981) stated that female suspects were more likely than males to be cautioned rather than prosecutedHilary Allen (1989) stated that men were much more likely to be given prison sentences than women.Even in very serious cases, (manslaughter) women were more able to avoid prison sentences than men
9 Question 2Does the criminal justice system treat women unfairly?
10 Rape TrialsCarol Smart (1989) states that rape trials “celebrate male sexual need and female sexual capriciousness”To illustrate this statement Smart quotes British judges;“It is well known that women in particular.. are likely to be untruthful and invent stories” Judge Sutcliffe (1976)Women who say no don’t always mean no….if she doesn’t want it she only has to keep her legs shut” Judge Wild (1982)
11 Rape TrialsSandra Walklate (2001) “The female victim rather than the male suspect ends up on trial.Rape trials continue to see things from a male point of view and accepts without question that men are unable to restrain their desires once women have given them any indication they may be available for sex.”
12 Double standards in the criminal justice system Heidensohn(1985) states that women are treated more harshly when they deviate from social norms of female sexualityEg. Promiscuous girls are more likely to be put into care than boys who involve themselves in similar behaviourCourts are also reluctant to imprison mothers with young childrenAllen (1998-9) stated that men are more likely to be fined and imprisoned partly because they are seen as less central to the family
13 Pat Carlen (1997)“The majority of British women who go to prison are less likely to be sentenced due to the seriousness of their crimes and more according to the courts assessment of them as wives, mothers and daughters