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NCJ Number: 51575 Find in a Library
Title: CHIVALRY REEXAMINED - WOMEN AND THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM (FROM WOMEN, CRIME, AND THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, 1978, BY LEE H BOWKER - SEE NCJ-51572)
Author(s): M CHESNEY-LIND
Corporate Author: Lexington Books
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 27
Sponsoring Agency: Lexington Books
New York, NY 10022
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: STUDIES ON THE RESPONSE OF VICTIMS, POLICE, COURTS, AND CORRECTIONS TO FEMALE OFFENDERS ARE REVIEWED, AND IMPLICATIONS ARE DRAWN REGARDING ALLEGED CHIVALRY TOWARD WOMEN IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.
Abstract: STATISTICS ON THE PROCESSING OF WOMEN THROUGH THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM APPEAR TO SUPPORT THE CONTENTION THAT ADULT WOMEN ARE THE RECIPIENTS OF CHIVALROUS TREATMENT BY OFFICIALS. EVIDENCE IS EXAMINED AT FOUR STAGES: PREARREST, ARREST, JAIL, AND COURT SENTENCING. WITH REGARD TO VICTIMS' RESPONSES TO FEMALE OFFENDERS, IT APPEARS THAT WOME WOMEN (PARTICULARLY WHITE, UPPER-CLASS WOMEN) MAY HAVE ENJOYED SOME BENEFITS BECAUSE OF THEIR SEX, BUT THAT MUCH OF THIS WAS A PRODUCT OF THE TYPE OF CRIMINAL MISBEHAVIOR IN WHICH THESE WOMEN ENGAGED. THE FEW STUDIES ON POLICE BEHAVIOR RELATIVE TO FEMALES INDICATE THAT POLICE TEND TO ENFORCE FEMALE SEX ROLE EXPECTATIONS RATHER THAN THE LAW; E.G., ROUTINE VIOLATION OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS OF PROSTITUTES APPEARS TO BE THE NORM, WHEREAS PATRONS OF PROSTITUTES ARE RARELY ARRESTED. OTHER FEMALE SUSPECTS, PARTICULARLY THOSE WHO BEHAVE IN A STEREOTYPICALLY FEMININE WAY WHEN ARRESTED, MAY ENJOY SOME BENEFITS. HOWEVER, IF WOMEN ACT LIKE ADULTS AND REFUSE TO CONFORM TO SEX ROLE EXPECTATIONS, THEY ARE RESPONDED TO HARSHLY. CONDITIONS IN WOMEN'S JAILS ALSO REPUDIATE THE CHIVALRY HYPOTHESIS, AS DOES THE FACT THAT THREE-QUARTERS OF THE WOMEN IN JAIL ARE HELD FOR MINOR OFFENSES, COMPARED TO APPROXIMATELY ONE-HALF OF THE MALES. TREATMENT OF WOMEN BY THE COURTS APPEARS TO BE LESS LENIENT THAN EARLY STUDIES INDICATED. MUCH OF THE EMPIRICAL SUPPORT FOR THE CHIVALRY HYPOTHESIS WAS A PRODUCT OF THE FACT THAT WOMEN COMMIT LESS SERIOUS OFFENSES. WHEN THE EFFECTS OF THIS VARIABLE ARE CONTROLLED, THE ADVANTAGE ENJOYED BY WOMEN IN THE COURTS IS REDUCED SIGNIFICANTLY OR ELIMINATED. ONE STUDY FOUND THAT THE TYPE OF OFFENSE, RATHER THAN THE SEVERITY, SEEMS TO BE A MAJOR FACTOR IN THE COURT'S RESPONSE TO FEMALE DEFENDANTS. IF THE ACTIVITY IS UNFEMININE (E.G., VIOLENT), THE COURT SEEMS LIKELY TO RESPOND HARSHLY, PARTICULARLY IF THE WOMAN CANNOT PROVIDE OTHER EVIDENCE OF CONFORMITY TO THE STANDARDS OF WOMANHOOD (E.G., MARRIAGE). ALTHOUGH MORE RESEARCH IS NEEDED BEFORE CONCLUSIONS CAN BE DRAWN, IT APPEARS THAT WOMEN DEFENDANTS DO NOT NECESSARILY BENEFIT FROM MALE TOLERANCE. THERE IS COMPELLING EVIDENCE IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED--LKM)
Index Term(s): Female offenders; Jails; Judicial discretion; Police discretion; Role perception; Sex discrimination
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51575

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