Women and Crime
The levels of criminality in women and men significantly differ. Women, in general, are less likely to engage in violent and criminal activities as compared to men. This explains the small percentage of women in prisons. According to most sociologists, this difference in crime can be attributed to gender socialization. Society has assigned different roles and responsibilities across the two genders; therefore, men and women are expected to behave in a certain way per their particular gender roles.
Values such as competitiveness and behavioral patterns such as spending time away from family and home brought about by socialization into male gender roles may promote acts of deviance such as infidelity. On the other hand, role expectations limit women’s criminal activities. These role expectations include gentleness, spending time at home, cooking for the family, helping the children with homework, and attending book clubs (Casella, 2020).
Women are also less likely to commit crimes as conviction seems more stigmatizing to them than men, hence influencing their socialization patterns. For instance, they are perceived as doubly deviant in court, and their actions are explained in terms of psychopathology (Heidensohn, 1991). Therefore, women fear such consequences of committing a crime at a higher degree compared to men.
Lastly, the difference in arrests may be attributed to the fact that society closely supervises and strictly disciplines women compared to men; thus, the social control. Subsequently, society ends up with a high percentage of women who conform. According to Sutherland and Cressey, the rates of arrests for females are lowest in such communities and highest in societies where women have great equality with men (Hoffman-Bustamante, 1973).
In conclusion, women make up a small percentage of the total incarcerated population due to differences in role expectations, socialization patterns, and applications of social control, as discussed above. Despite the percentage increase in women’s imprisonment over the years, these factors remain viable for explaining the small number of women in prison over the total incarcerated population.
Cassella, K. (2020). Social Work and Deviant Behavior. Eastern Gateway Community College.
Heidensohn, F. M. (1991). Women as Perpetrators and Victims of Crime. British Journal of Psychiatry, 158(S10), pp.50-54. <http://sci-hub.se/10.1192/S000712500029199X>
Hoffman-Bustamante, D. (1973). The Nature of Female Criminality. Issues in Criminology, 8(2), pp.117-136. <https://www.jstor.org/stable/42909687>
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As of 2015, women made up 10.4% of the incarcerated population in adult prisons and jails. Why do you think women make up such a small percentage of the total incarcerated population?
(You can support your opinion with outside resources if you wish; just make sure to cite your source[s] at the end ).
Note: Please read Chapter 6 of the attached textbook
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