Female Offenders - Essay Example

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Take to consider these facts: the number of women in prison has tripled in the past decade in the UK. Between 1992 and 2002, the number of women prisoners rose from around 1300 to well over 4000. There are now more women in prison than at any time since 1901…
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Female Offenders
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Download file to see previous pages For some time, many social scientists have ignored the diversity of the women's prison population and the differential treatment to which women of various backgrounds have been subjected. These omissions have affected the type of information available on women in the criminal justice system as it relates exclusively to the issue of gender.
Largely, the study of criminology has treated female offenders with some measure of indifference. This is derived from tradition culture that have been conceived in maintain esteem for men's autonomy, intelligence and force of character while disdaining women for their weaknesses of compliance and passivity. In the essay of Kerry Brave entitled "Crime and Gender" (2003), she enthuses that women who conform as pure, obedient daughters, wives and mothers benefit men and society (Feinman, 1994: 16). Those women who don't, that is are non-conforming, may simply be one who questions established beliefs or practices, or one who engages in activities associated with men, or one who commits a crime. These women are doubly damned and doubly deviant (Bottoms, 1996: 1). They are seen as 'mad' not 'bad' (Lloyd, 1995: 36). These behaviours frequently lead to interpretations of being mentally abnormal and unstable. Those doing the defining, by the very act, are never defined as 'other', but are the norm. As 'men' are the norm, women are deviant. Women are defined in reference to men (Lloyd, 1995: xvii). In the words of Young (1990), 'sexual difference is one of the ways in which normal is marked out from deviant'. So why do these differences exist within the criminal justice system and society as a whole In order to understand why offending and punishment differs between genders it is important to acknowledge and analyse past perceptions, theories and perspectives from predominant sociologists and criminologists of that time towards women in society.
Given the emergence of a psychology of women in the mainstream of research and practice, Miller and Trapani (1995) suggested that it is critical that correctional educational practices become responsive to adolescent females. While in the past, few research studies focused on the needs and characteristics of adolescent female offenders, there is some evidence from recent investigations suggesting that adolescent females have unique needs. Most correctional educational programs, assessment procedures, and curricula have been developed on a knowledge base obtained from studies conducted with adolescent male offenders. The profile of the adolescent female now emerging from psychological, educational and sociological research suggests that programmatic changes are necessary if we are to meet the special needs of these females.
Although research on adolescent females is a relatively new area of study, much information is now available that points to differences between female and male adolescents. Research has revealed that adolescent females experience more episodes of depression throughout adolescence than do males (Rutter, 1986), attempt suicide more frequently (Rosenthal, 1981), and exhibit lower levels of resilience (Block, 1990). As adolescence progresses, females' self-esteem becomes diminished, whereas young males' self-concept and self-esteem improve (American Association of University Women, 1991). Adolescent females ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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