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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 48405 Find in a Library
Title: CRIMINOLOGICAL THEORY - ITS IDEOLOGY AND IMPLICATIONS CONCERNING WOMEN
Journal: BRITISH JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY  Volume:28  Issue:1  Dated:(MARCH 1977)  Pages:89-100
Author(s): C SMART
Corporate Author: Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd
United Kingdom
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 12
Sponsoring Agency: Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd
London, WC1E 7DD, England
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: THIS PAPER REVIEWS THE WORK OF EARLY THEORIES ON FEMALE CRIMINALITY, FOCUSES ON THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE IDEOLOGIES INHERENT IN THESE STUDIES, AND URGES BETTER WORK IN THIS FIELD.
Abstract: FEW WRITERS HAVE DEALT WITH THE SPECIFIC CONCEPT OF FEMALE CRIMINALITY. THIS IS PROBABLY BECASUE OFFENSES COMMITTED BY WOMEN ARE MOSTLY PETTY AND, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF PROSTITUTES, MOST APPEARANCES BY WOMEN IN COURT ARE FOR FIRST OFFENSES. THUS, WOMEN DO NOT SEEM TO POSE A THREAT TO SOCIETY AND OFFICIAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE AGENCIES HAVE NOT SUPPORTED STUDIES IN THIS AREA. THE WORKS OF LOMBROSO, POLLAK, COWIE, AND COWIE AND SLATER ARE REVIEWED IN DETAIL. ALL OF THESE WORKS ARE SEXIST, ATTRIBUTING UNDESIRABLE CHARACTERISTICS TO THE FEMALE SEX. THESE WORKS ABOUND WITH REFERENCES TO THE 'INHERENT' EVIL IN WOMEN, OR A LACK OF INTELLIGENCE IN WOMEN, OR A 'NATURAL' PASSIVITY. MENSTRUATION OR THE MENOPAUSE ARE OFTEN BLAMED AS PRECIPITATING FACTORS. SUCH FACTORS AS CLASS, STATUS, POWER, AGE, CULTURE, AND SO ON ARE NOT CONSIDERED AS PERTINENT TO AN UNDERSTANDING OF FEMALE CRIMINALITY EVEN THOUGH THESE FACTORS ARE CONSIDERED RELEVANT TO MALE CRIMINALITY. THESE THEORIES HAVE TENDED TO REINFORCE CULTURAL BELIEFS AND OBSCURE REALITY. THOSE PERSONS WHO ACCEPT THE THEORY THAT FEMALE OFFENDERS ARE 'SICK,' WILL PROVIDE EMOTIONAL THERAPY INSTEAD OF VOCATIONAL COURSES THAT ARE NECESSARY TO HELP THE WOMEN BECOME SELF-SUPPORTING WITHOUT RESORTING TO CRIME. ANOTHER COMMON MISTAKE IS ASSUMING THAT THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IS MORE LENIENT TOWARD WOMEN. REPORTS OF TREATMENT OF FEMALE POLITICAL PRISONERS, PROSTITUTES, AND RAPE VICTIMS BELIE THE VIEW OF A 'CHIVALROUS' POLICE AND LEGAL SYSTEM. THE SEVERITY OF TREATMENT OF FEMALE STATUS OFFENDERS IS PART OF THIS DOUBLE-STANDARD WHICH PUNISHES GIRLS FOR PETTY ACTS THAT ARE CONDONED FOR BOYS. IT IS HOPED THAT NEW TRENDS IN THE SOCIOLOGY OF DEVIANCE AND CRIMINOLOGY WILL REPLACE EXISTING STUDIES OF FEMALE CRIMINALITY WITH SERIOUS, WELL-CONSTRUCTED RESEARCH. NOTES ARE PROVIDED. (GLR)
Index Term(s): Criminology; Critiques; Female offenders; Females; Literature; Sex discrimination
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=48405

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