Diversity and Discrimination

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Diversity and Discrimination in the Criminal Justice System

Diversity and Discrimination in the Criminal Justice System

Literature Review

Theoretical Development regarding Women Offenders

In the past it was considered that male are the primary offenders in criminal justice system, most of the theories are related to male offenders because females were considered as less of a problem to some extent, therefore theorists did not find it useful to conduct more research on female offenders. Though, some of the theorists like Lambroso in 1895, davis in 1961, Thomas in 1907 and then in 1923, and Pollak in 1950 have studied female offenders (Dixon et al., 2010, p. 406). If we look at the history, most of the theories regarding criminality of women were ranging to psychological from biological and to social from economic. Though, cultural and social theories are considered to be applied to male, at the same time the explanation concerning to pathological were being applied to female. Classical theorists have studied women offenders by means of great importance on the role of physiology and biology.

For instance the work of Ferrero and Lombroso on conceiving women offending was on the basis of biological factors (Farrell & Buckley, 1999, p. 45). Ferrero and Lambroso have studied bones, brains and skulls of prostitutes and women offenders to come to the conclusion that there were lesser women criminals as compared to male criminals and also that prostitutes have had further anomalies as compared to women offenders or normal female. Women offenders who were not acting in accordance to the standards that are pre-defined were considered as pathological and those females are required to be removed or get treated and further alleged that female commend lesser crime as compared to male because they are considered to be lower on the scale of evolution with the comparison to male (Lea & Lynn, 2012, p. 3092). As a result, according to the theorists, women offenders are usually recognized as possessing too much male characteristics (Bridges, 2002, p. 9). This tradition of Lombrosian regarding biological explanation concerning women offenders seemed to have left large impact that lasted long after the publication.

In 1970s, many pro-feminist and feminists writers have criticized this subject of classical criminology because of its insignificance of female in studies (Lea & Lynn, 2012, p. 3092). Another reason for criticism was its lack of proper gender analysis as the studies were conducted in a distorting and limited way (Farrell & Buckley, 1999, p. 45). For instance, Heidensohn has criticized their ideas that they were primarily assumptions that were conducted by males (Jamieson, 2008, p. 45). Feminist criminologists were required to rectify the classical criminology theories that were considered to be inadequate by utilizing new and improved methodologies.

In 1950, Pollak carried out a research regarding female offenders and suggested that female offenders were with the skills and capability in hiding their criminal acts because of their female biological characteristics (Matthews, 2005, p. 175). He further stated that the crimes that were committed by female were mostly ...
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