Gender, Crime & Justice

Mind Map by A M, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by A M over 4 years ago


A-Level Sociology (Crime & Deviance) Mind Map on Gender, Crime & Justice, created by A M on 04/05/2016.

Resource summary

Gender, Crime & Justice
1 Most crime seems to be committed by males. 4/5 convicted offenders are male. Among offenders, a higher proportion of females are convicted of property offences (accept burglary), while a higher proportion of males are convicted of violent or sexual offences. Male are more likely to commit serious offences.
2.1 Some sociologists argue that the official statistics underestimate the amount of female offending. 2 arguments have been put forward to support this view:
2.1.1 Female crimes are less likely to be reported e.g. women's shoplifting is less likely to be reported than men's violence.
2.1.2 Even when women's crimes are reported, they are less likely to be prosecuted.
3.1 The idea that women are less likely to be prosecuted for their offences.
3.2 Argues that the criminal justice system (CJS) is more lenient to women because its agents - police officers, judges, juries etc - are men, who are socialised to act 'chivalrously'.
3.3 POLLAK argues that men have a protective attitude towards women, so they are unwilling to arrest, charge, prosecute or convict them. Their crimes are less likely to end up in the official statistics, giving an invalid picture that under-represents female crime.
3.4.1 GRAHAM & BOWLING found in self-report studies that young males were 2.33 times more likely than females to admit to having committed an offence in the previous year - whereas the official statistic show males as 4 times more likely to offend.
3.4.2 HOOD'S study of over 3000 defendants found that women were about 1/3 less likely to be jailed in similar cases.
3.5.1 FARRINGTON & MORRIS' study of magistrates' court found women were not sentenced more leniently for comparable offences. BOX'S review of self-report studies concludes that women who commit serious offences are not treated more favourably than men.
3.5.2 BUCKLE & FARRINGTON'S study of shoplifting witnessed twice as many males shoplifting - despite the fact that the numbers of male & female offenders in the official statistics are roughly equal. This suggests that women shoplifters are more likely to be prosecuted than male shoplifters.
3.6.1 FEMINISTS argue that the CJS is not biased in favour of women as the chivalry thesis claims, but biased against them. They argue that CJS treats women more harshly, especially when they deviate from gender norms of monogamous heterosexuality & motherhood.
3.6.2 HEIDENSOHN notes the double standards of courts punishing girls, but not boys, for promiscuous sexual activity.
3.6.3 CARLEN found Scottish courts were much more likely to jail women whose children were in care than women whom they saw as good mothers.
3.6.4 WALKATE argues that in rape cases it is the victim who is on trial since she has to prove her respectability in order to have her evidence accepted.
4.1 PARSONS' FUNCTIONALIST explanation focuses on gender socialisation & role models in the nuclear family to explain gender differences in crime.
4.2 Women perform the expressive role at home, including responsibility for socialisation. This gives girls an adult role model, but boys reject feminine models of behaviour that express tenderness, gentleness & emotion.
4.2.1 Instead, boys distance themselves by engaging in 'compensatory compulsory masculinity' - risk-taking, aggression & anti-social behaviour.
4.3 Men take the instrumental role, performed largely outside the home. This also makes socialisation more difficult for boys.
4.4 COHEN argues that the absence of a male role model in the home means boys are more likely to turn to all-male street gangs as a source of masculine identity. Here they earn status by acts of delinquency.
4.4.1 Similarly, RIGHT REALISTS argue that the absence of a male role model in matrifocal lone-parent families leads to boys' delinquency.
5 FEMINISTS explain gender differences in offending terms of patriarchy.
5.1.1 HEIDENSOHN argues that women commit fewer crimes than men because patriarchal society imposes greater control over women, thus reducing their opportunities to offend. Patriarchal control operates at home, in public & at work. AT HOME Women's domestic role, w/ it's constant housework & childcare, imposes severe restrictions on their time & movement & confines them to the house for long periods, reducing their opportunities to offend. Men are able to impose this role on women, e.g. by the threat of domestic violence & through their financial power. Daughters are also subject to patriarchal control, e.g. w/ restrictions on going out or staying out late. Instead, they develop a 'bedroom culture', socialising at home w/ friends rather than in public spaces. Girls are also required to do more housework, which also restricts their opportunities to engage in deviant behaviour on the streets. IN PUBLIC Women are controlled in public places by the fear of male sexual violence. Media reporting of rapes helps to frighten women into staying indoors. Females are also controlled in public by their fear of being defined as not respectable. Dress, make-up, ways of acting etc, defined as inappropriate can gain a woman a 'reputation'. Women on their own may avoid going into pubs -which are sites of criminal behaviour - for fear of being regarded as sexually 'loose'. AT WORK Women's subordinate position at work reduces criminal opportunities. The 'glass ceiling' prevents women rising to senior positions where there are more opportunities for white-collar crime.
5.2.1 CARLEN studied 39 working class women who had been convicted of a range of crimes. 20 were in prison or youth custody. CARLEN argues that most convicted serious female criminals are working-class. Unrepresentative sample - consisted largely of serious offenders, over 1/2 of whom were in custody.
5.2.2 CARLEN uses HIRSCHI'S control theory to explain female crime. HIRSCHI argues that humans act rationally & are controlled by being offered a 'deal': rewards in return for conforming to norms. People commit crime if they don't believe they will get the rewards, or if the rewards of crime appear greater than the risks. CARLEN argues that working-class women are generally led to conform through the promise of two 'deals': THE CLASS DEAL Women who work will get a decent standard of living. In terms of the class deal, the women in CARLEN'S study had failed to find a legitimate way of earning a decent living. Most had always been in poverty; many could not get a job & had experienced problems claiming benefits. THE GENDER DEAL Women who conform to the conventional domestic gender role will gain the material & emotional rewards of family life. In terms of the gender deal, some had been abused by their fathers or partners. Over 1/2 had spent time in care, which broke family bonds. Ignores the importance of free will & choice in offending.
5.2.3 THE LIBERATION THESIS ADLER'S 'liberation thesis' argues that as women become liberated from patriarchy, their offending will become similar to men's. Women's liberation is leading to a new type of female criminal & a rise in the female crime rate. ADLER argues that the patriarchal controls & discrimination have lessened & opportunities have become more equal. Women no longer just commit traditional female crimes (e.g. shoplifting, prostitution). There are more women in senior positions at work & this gives them the opportunity to commit serious white-collar crimes. The female crime rate started rising before the women's liberation movement began & most female criminals are working-class & unlikely to be influenced by women's liberation.
6.1 Evidence strongly suggests that most offenders are men. What is about being male that increases the likelihood of offending? Attention has focused to explain this pattern.
6.2.1 MESSERSCHMIDT argues that masculinity is an 'accomplishment' - something that men have to consistently work at constructing & presenting to others. In doing so, some men have more resources than others to draw upon.
6.2.2 HEGEMONIC MASCULINITY The dominant form of masculinity & the one that most men wish to accomplish. It is defined through paid work, the ability to subordinate women (both at home & work) & heterosexuality.
6.2.3 SUBORDINATE MASCULINITY Some men, including many lower-class & ethnic minority men, lack the resources to accomplish hegemonic masculinity & so turn to crime. However, MESSERSCHMIDT notes that some middle-class men also use crime to achieve hegemonic masculinity, but in their case it is white-collar or corporate crime.
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