Female offenders treated differently

Jan. 26, 2013 at 12:38 AM
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READING, Pa., Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Female offenders are often perceived as victims who commit crimes in self-defense or as criminal deviants, a U.S. researchers says.

However, Brenda L. Russell, editor of "Perceptions of Female Offenders. How Stereotypes and Social Norms Affect Criminal Justice Responses," said over the past few decades, the increase of female offenders generated concern.

"Our social norms dictate that women are not dangerous -- that they do not commit crimes and the thought of a female offender conflicts with traditional gender roles, where women are "supposed to be" nurturing and passive," Russell, of Pennsylvania State University, Berks, said in a statement.

However, the rise in female crime is at odds with these assumptions.

"Scholars in psychology, sociology and criminology found female offenders are perceived differently than male offenders and this ultimately leads to differential treatment in the criminal justice system," Russell said.

"This book provides an evidence based approach of how female offenders are perceived in society and how this translates to differential treatment within the criminal justice system and explores the ramifications of such differences."

The book highlights the fact women who commit violent crime are both judged and treated by a criminal justice system which bases its decisions on the erroneous stereotypes of female offenders, Russell said.

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