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NCJ Number: 136359 Find in a Library
Title: Vanishing Female: The Decline of Women in the Criminal Process, 1687-1912
Journal: Law and Society Review  Volume:25  Issue:4  Dated:(1991)  Pages:719-757
Author(s): M M Feeley; D L Little
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 39
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article challenges the prevailing scholarly belief that women have always been at the periphery of crime and argues that a central issue for those studying the criminal process should be the decline over time of women as criminal offenders and defendants.
Abstract: Our argument rests on examination of criminal cases in the Old Bailey in London for 1687-1912 as well as of data drawn from English and some American courts for this period. For much of the 18th century, women made up a substantial portion (over 45 percent at times) of all those indicted for felony offenses in sharp contrast to contemporary levels of less than 15 percent. We conclude that the change is "real" -- it cannot be explained away as an artifact of selective reporting, shifting jurisdiction, short-lived idiosyncratic enforcement policies, etc. We argue that these changes parallel and may be explained by significant shifts in the roles accorded women in the economy, the family, and society, and we conclude that the vanishing female in the criminal process may reflect a shift to more private forms of social control brought on by shifting social attitudes and the rise of industrialism. (Author abstract)
Main Term(s): Female crime patterns
Index Term(s): England; Female sex roles; Social change; US/foreign comparisons
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