Gender Equality and Crime
The court and the Judiciary, in general, are guided by the basic principles of justice to all. Judges usually give rulings based on the rule of law with the intention of protecting the public, deterring crime, rehabilitating law offenders, punishing offenders and offering reparation to the victim. The principles of justice mean fairness, protecting the rights of all regardless of gender, race or religion. However, gender equality has been a significant issue for many years, and there has been a debate on when convicted of a crime, which sentences should be handed based on gender. Numerous studies establish that women are the most significant beneficiaries of gender during sentencing, judges are more lenient to women (Hopkins, Light and Lovbakke, 2011).
The researchers also identify that judges should look at the type of crime committed by the offender before issuing a judgment. Women are given short sentences as compared to men. More so, the lenient treatment of women goes beyond the duration of the sentence, they are also advantaged in various other ways such as ladies are likely to get bails, they are also more likely to be released. Women are also given short sentence for a similar crime with a male counterpart and serve a smaller portion of their judgment before being released. For that reason, you find a large number of men in prison as compared to women.
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In this essay, I aim at discussing if this kind of preferential treatment given to women is discrimination against men or is the course of justice performed by the judicial system. Women are perceived as weak as compared to men the court considers the ability of the lady to commit the misdeed. Women have since traditionally been taken to play a critical role in the family, most of them are mothers. Because they are the key players, long sentences would mean a separation of the mother from significant functions such as caring for a child.
The court should consider several other factors apart from gender when issuing judgment to criminalsJudging women differently from men may not be fair because it encourages women to do more crimes since they are privy of the fact that they will get lenient judgments and sentences. But, in the past decades, women have been discriminated in various fields, including politics, business, and in organizations, women usually receive the small share. But at the moment, with multiple campaigns for women rights, women are now equal to men in all fields. If you look at the number of women in the job market, for example, it is increasing at a high rate as compared to men. Therefore, gender parity should not be used anymore to favor ladies against men in the judicial system.
The best interest should be determining the factor for the particular action, the benefit of the third party is also used as the central factor in the court when influencing the court outcome. The judge should consider individual elements, for example, if the suspected person is a lady with a young child, then the court should consider giving lenient judgment for the interest of the child. The law requires that a child should not be separated with the mother. The best interest of the child is chief. However, it should not be the only merit used in court. Whether private or public, the social welfare of the institutions, the court are mandated to protect law and offer administrative judgment.
Gender-based sentencing is conditioned by crimes, which benefits women from feminist crimes such as drug offending, property because they are given preferential treatment. Selective judgment will also have an impact on small crimes if the courts provide ruling depending on one’s sex. If the factors related to the crime committed by the person is not gender-related then, there is no need to issue the sentence that is gender bias. Gender-based judgment is a public relation exercise, rather than seeking to find justice and punish offenders. The judges have created a public image that the courts fight against gender parity, and at the long-run, it will cause more harm to men, and in the process undermining the courts (Mona, 2013).
Traditionally men are perceived as healthy and can fight for themselves, but ladies are known to be weak, and vulnerable, and they need more attention and protection from the third person. That explains the reason why males receive harsh sentences than females, but they also receive more treatment. The court should consider the gender when sentencing criminal so that they can protect women. Also, men are more likely to commit crimes than ladies, which explains the reason why there are several men compared to women at the criminal prisons. Ladies rarely commit crimes, and when they do, they are transgressed and break the gender beliefs. When a simple sentence is delivered to them, ladies feel that they are being punished double.
For example, when a lady fails to be a mother and she is considered a law offender. Failing to be a mother would mean that the children would be victims as well, in some countries when a mother has been imprisoned the kid also stays in prison with her. The act leads to psychological problems to the child as he or she is growing. Even, in many countries such as the United Kingdom and Wales, ladies account for only 5 percent of the total prison population. Thus, when ladies are jailed, they feel they are being stigmatized double. Moreover, men and women react differently if they face the same situation. The theory of Moral development suggests that females are more emotionally and psychologically affected when they are in prison.
While ladies see moral life as care rather than justice, men, on the other hand, take it as responsibility. This theory makes sense because if you make a keen observation about the women when they are arrested, they so emotional and they feel that lack of care. But men are concerned with the truth and justice. Thus, they are not affected psychologically (Banks, 2013). Men are more often guilty until proven innocent, while women appear to be honest especially when the crime relates to domestic cases. The judges also consider gender when they are issuing judges based on the individual judge’s gender. Women judge are lenient to fellow ladies, and the male judge may also be gender biased.
The other reasons why the sentences should be based on gender is that, women are the most affected by the domestic violence. The court should then be seeking justice for these women are suffering at the hands of ignorant men. The sentence issued should serve as a lesson to other men with similar behavior and will go a long way to reduce domestic violence. However, the latest statistics show that men are also victims of domestic violence, but most of them do not report to the police. The criminal court should be careful to identify the victim and also assist the men who are silently suffering underground.
Also, men’s crimes are worse to a level that justifies the reason for an increase in the number of men in prisons as compared to women. Men are more likely to be sentenced than ladies because women are less criminally compared to men. A large percentage of the offenders are men, and they are being jailed because of their criminal activities. Men on average receive longer sentence than ladies and they serve the more significant proportion of sentences (Mona, 2013). Most of the ladies criminals are not criminals or do not commit the offense by choice, they are being forced by men to do so. Most of them are given death threats so that they commit any crimes. In such a situation the gender issue is used in determining the charges someone should face. The lady would be given less judgment, and the men are given many years to serve their punishment.
It has been established that men are the subject of gender parity in the courts of law. If male offenders were to be given similar treatment to women, then it would mean that one-sixth of the male in jail. In fact, more than 60,000 men would not have been in prison if they were women. The findings speak volume and the need of being gender sensitive when issuing the criminal sentence. In some instances, women convicts have poor health, have little education, and they have children to look after. The children suffer a lot when the mother is jailed as compared to when the father is imprisoned. Although either situation makes the children separated from the parent, the gravity is much more significant when the lady is arrested and accused of the crime (James, 1990).
The gender disparity in the criminal justice courts results from multiple places. When two people man and woman commit the same crime, the judges rule based on the law but also use the stereotype that females are less dangerous, less threatening and less culpable. As a result of such stereotype, the court imposes a harsh punishment because they are believed to be more dangerous and more menacing. Also, looking at the criminal history ladies have committed fewer crimes compared to their male counterparts who commits crimes occasionally. The fact that girls have less criminal history can also have an impact on the decision.
Since there are no sentencing guidelines, the judges decide on their own and impose the sentence in whatever manner he or she thinks it is suitable. The decision is influenced by gender because a lady may appear weaker in the eyes of the deciding judge.During the medieval era, women were crucial in the society, but they never had the same rights as men. The community did not identify them as full citizens, so the status of a lady in that era depended on the father or husband. If the husband or the father held a crucial position in the society and a lady is convicted of the crime, she will receive preferential treatment. To make it worse men held important jobs in the community and no woman could defend the rest, the crimes committed by ladies at the time were something to do with basic needs. If a lady was not married, she could engage herself in petty theft because of lack of employment, and when she was convicted, she received the most terrible and humiliating punishment (Lawrence and Tracey, 2000).
Looking at the enlightenment time, a period between 17000 and 1820 women had become more enlightened in the society, and they committed different crimes as today. History has shown that ladies are always seen as the only victims, back then ladies were not considered as capable as gentlemen when committing offenses. Although they were capable of being brutal just like men, women never committed severe crimes as males. The first misdeed ladies conducted during that period include assault, prostitution, robbery, homicide and property crimes. Mothers are less likely to involve themselves in crimes than men. When a lady commits murder, it includes a domestic partner. Ladies who were caught committing crimes and were sentenced in court particularly if she had committed a violent crime (James, 1990). The woman would receive a harsh punishment than men.
In addition to the petty theft, women were accused of witchcraft, and they were not spared capital punishmentIn the 19th century, the rate of crimes among the ladies decreased, but the population and the institutions dealing with the women crimes had increased. The females at this era were seen as caring, passive and moral individuals. So if the lady commits an offense, she had also broken the traditional ideas of the feminists. Most of the ladies convicted of sin during this period were mostly the lower class because the upper level didn’t worry about money, their husbands provided them with enough money. Those from humble background did not have enough money, so they resorted to crime.
The common crimes committed by women during this era included housebreaking, petty theft such as pickpocketing and selling stolen items on behalf of men. The judicial system deals with this women in different ways. A lady who was convicted of small crimes is given lenient judgment. The court realized that ladies needed protection from negative influencers. The harsh punishment was directed towards men because they committed significant mistakes than ladies. Those women who were found guilty of committing horrible acts like homicide were punished by the judiciary and also labeled as problematic in the society (Lucia, 1991).
Also, from the history, it is found that ladies usually learn from the past mistake, and they often avoid any form of crime once they are released from the prison, but men are likely to repeat the same offense over and over even after serving many years in jail. Thus, the court should be hard on them. Research from 2003 to 2013 shows that female offenders are less likely than men lawbreakers to have been warned before for the last ten years. Only one-fifth of men are the first time offenders and two-thirds of the ladies are beginning time criminal.
The study suggests that men are likely to repeat the same crime he was previously convicted. Thus supporting the need to consider the gender during sentencing. Being lenient to women would be better since once she is out of prison, she is less likely to commit the same offense. Men, on the other hand, are likely to make the same mistake when they are released from jail. The judges, therefore, should give a harsh punishment to warn them of the consequences of breaking the law.
In 2013, ladies were most likely than men to have encouraging factors for offenses such as theft, dishonesty, fraud, and public order offenses. Men are also likely to have aggravating issues used in crimes than the other gender. The core mitigating factors for ladies include being remorse, the age of the accused, caring duties and lack of previous convictions. But gentlemen are less likely to have these elements considered the responsibility of care primarily men are not supposed to be central in taking care of the children, it is ladies who are believed to have the direct responsibility (Michael, 2013). The aggravating behaviors for men include previous convictions, being a member of particular gangster group, evidence of a degree of pre-meditation and the location of the offense. All these characters are rare to appear in ladies, but the use of weapons seems in similar proportions.
The different application of aggravating and mitigating factors by the sex contributed to a more significant extend the sentence, with men having the high probability of being given custody than ladies.
Shoplifting affects both genders in equal measures, but the proportion is higher for ladies than men. This offense made more than half of all the women who are convicted and almost a quarter of the sentenced are men. But men are likely to get the immediate custodial sentence.
The other factor that the court considers is the fact that men are more likely than women to run or break out of the prison once they are in jail. The ladies are patience enough to complete their term, a higher proportion of ladies will serve their sentence until it is over. But men are attempts to run out of a cell. The judge is hard to men because they are believed to break the law repeatedly. It is also known that ladies are less likely to defy the court order, but men do breach the court order.
Thus, leading them into more trouble with judges. Ladies are sincere, and they will tell the truth in the court, but gentlemen do lie mostly. One the court established that someone lied to the court, the accused is likely to serve the longer sentence than the one who spoke the truth at the court chambers. Research conducted in 2011 indicates that men offenders are likely to be imprisoned to immediate custody for breaching the court order. More than 73 percent of men received custodial sentence (Hopkins, Light and Lovbakke, 2011).
The scientist has also explained the reason why men and women are criminal in a different manner. The initial explanations of the female criminal stated that human and criminal behavior relates to biological and social factors. These theories argued that female and their criminal nature are secondary to that of men. The born penal theory believes that gender is the determinants of illegal characters, a man with primitive features are likely to be criminal. The argument concludes that the criminal ladies possess male features (Belknap, 2004).
The other idea is Criminality of Women states that the type of offense committed by ladies such as petty theft and shoplifting are not represented in statistics because concealment in the justice system and that they are not reported. The idea states that the criminality in men and women are the same, but it is less prevalent in ladies. The theory further suggests that females have deceitful nature, which is rooted in their role, ladies are the mastermind of crimes and convince men to perpetuate the act. By doing so, they clean their name, and the man is labeled criminal.
In conclusion, when convicted of the crime, the court should issues sentence based on gender because ladies are less dangerous, and their evil is an auxiliary to men. Females always commit minor mistakes as opposed to men. Also, women are more remorse, they are more likely to commit a crime only once, but gentlemen do it repeatedly. The most critical factor that the court considers is the role a lady plays in the family, she has the responsibility to take care of children, and once a lady is arrested with a young kid, the child is also jailed until a certain age where he or she is allowed to go home. Men are likely to breach the court orders as compared to ladies, which explain the reason why court issue sentence to gentlemen as soon as they are put under custody.
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Kathryn Hopkins, Miriam Light, and Jorgen Lovbakke. (2011). Evaluating Gender as A Factor Linked with Custodial Sentence for Breaching Court Order. Ministry of Justice, 2-7.
Lucia, Z. (1991). Women, Crimes and Penal Responses. A Historical Account, 307-360.
Michael, D. (2013). Research on Ladies and Criminal Justice System in 2013. Ministry of Justice, 62-67.
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