Academic debate among professionals and justice departments have generally believed and accepted that criminality and crime are male-dominated in the United States, UK and Canada. Self-report journals, official statistics and mainstream media reporting on crime endorse these views. Men have secured top position on being victims and perpetrators of various criminal acts. Professionals accept that women commit crime but in small number, less professional and less serious crimes (Covington & Bloom, 2003). This results in the smaller representation of female perpetrators, especially in America’s criminal justice system. Gender is substantial in distinguishing between criminals and non-criminals or the forms of violent crimes committed in the society. The increase of female offenders has risen in UK’s criminal justice system in recent years. Data collected from the Home Office and the British Crime Survey report indicates that male offenders contributed to about 40% of total victims of domestic violence in the UK between 2004, 2005, 2008, and 2009 (Campbell, 2010). He further explains that the victims of domestic men abuse dropped in 2008 to 37.7% while the women abuse rose to 45.5%. The study shows that 28% of women and 16% of men reported cases of domestic or spousal abuse since the age of 16, a figure that is equal to an estimated 2.6 million male and 4.5 million female victims of domestic violence (Campbell, 2010). Serious criminal trials that receive wide coverage by both the justice department and the mainstream media involve a female offender who has committed a heinous crime against a male victim such as rape, murder and robbery with arson. Both the media and the police department ignore men who are victims of domestic violence because men are considered masculine and able to defend themselves as compared to women. The representation of female offenders injustice system is small because of two outlooks: women commit more heinous crimes as male perpetrators but it remains hidden and women commit less violent crimes according to studies. Women receive shorter prison sentences than men and the media and justice system highlighted this because of the old theory that crime is closely linked to masculinity (Herrington & Nee, 2005).
Rates of Violent Crimes Committed by Women Versus those Committed by Men
Violent Crimes Committed by Men
Historians carried thorough research about a theoretical view about men and criminal activities and most professionals established the close link between a person’s physiological traits and his or her inclination to commit a violent crime. A theoretical discrepancy between gender and sex explains gender in term of feminine and masculine while sex is a person’s biological origin. Males and females are distinguished by their sexual and biological attributes while feminine and masculine traits and behaviors are conventionally associated with women and men respectively (Herrington & Nee, 2005). The current explanation for men’s large representation in the justice system is attributed to masculinity. Proponents of the view that crime is linked to masculinity state that biological characteristics of men such as dominance and aggression increased a person’s propensity for criminal activity, especially a crime that requires violence. Most outrageous crimes committed by men include forcible rape against weak women (children, old and single women), non-negligent manslaughter or murder, aggravated assault, robbery with violence, auto-theft and arson.
Violent Crimes Committed by Women
In the past, women did not engage in criminal activities because they lacked masculine strength and they were inherently conservative and passive in their endeavors (Levinson, 2002). The women who committed the crime with violence were viewed as non-female and intrinsically masculine. Members of the contemporary society still view women who have indulged in atrocious crimes as uncouth and lumpish as they are considered to possess physical characteristics that equate them more to the males than females. However, recent research injustice system in the US and UK show that biological explanations for female criminals are outdated because more women indulge in violent crime due to the difficult economic situation, drug abuse, crime of passion and the most recent and disturbing is young women joining street gangs (Miller, 2009). Women who commit violent crimes are considered improper and female aggression is currently judged by the community and justice system more harshly than the men’s one partly because women deflect from social norms and they must be mentally unstable to commit such crimes. The social structure encourages men to develop characteristics of crime by fostering male domination in the family, business and entertainment where men are encouraged to be adventuresome, aggressive to survive and tough when withstanding unbearable situations. This implies that women who venture into the male-dominated crime industry adopt the roles of men and should be treated more or less harshly than male criminals depending on the nature of the crime (Poe-Yamagata & Butts, 2004).
Men commit more crimes than women because of the masculine strength and lack of fear of consequence. In the contemporary society, men use force to rape weak women, murder people, rob and assault while women indulge in these heinous crimes when they possess weapons of destruction such as guns, knives and blunt objects when assaulting weak men, women or children. In the US, men of colour are vastly represented in the justice system, especially in the prisons as compared to Caucasians. The statistics that shows many black male offenders in prison is due to poverty in the ghettos, forcible rape, robbery with violence and gang-related crime. The African American community indicates families struggling from poverty, unemployment, lack of education and job creation resources (Poe-Yamagata & Butts, 2004). The youth who live under such conditions resort to drug peddling, gang-related violence and robbing American citizens off their property and money.
Domestic Violence Committed by Women
A campaign group called Parity in the UK indicates that the media and the police ignore men who are assaulted by their girlfriends and wives (Campbell, 2010). The report shows that two in five men who are victims of abuse in the UK are men. The female offenders are not charged with any crime and the victims do not have a refuge where they can flee. This report shows that the normal expected crime of men emerging as domestic violence perpetrators is false because women escape justice after committing domestic violence. Campbell reports that 6% of female victims of domestic violence reported the crime in 2009, while only 4% of male victims reported the domestic abuse to authorities. The figure of male victims is about 600,000 excluding the men who did not report the violence and those ignored by the police (Campbell, 2010). The campaigners of Parity claim that male victims who report their cases to the police are habitually treated as victims who are second-class to female victims. The plight of male victims in domestic violence in the UK and US is overlooked by the mainstream media partly because media creates a family structure where men dominate in all aspects of life and the men emerging as victims of domestic abuse will cut media ratings. The media does not intend to portray men as weak species when they dominate in work, family and entertainment while domestic violence that reports men as victims is not newsworthy. 7,500 refuge housings are available women in Wales and England and men have only 60 refuge centers. This shows that male victims of domestic violence are almost imperceptible to police authorities. Campbell explains a case study of female committing crime in the UK involves Ian McNicholl who endured a tragic relationship with his former fiance, Michelle Williamson (2010). Ian suffered punches on the face, hot iron on his back, cigarettes stubbed out all over his body and constant blow to the head using blunt objects for more than a year. When he sought help in the local police station, they ignored him because he is a man and such cases were not common. The only time his fiance was arrested was when two neighbors became witnessed of how Ian was assaulted in public. Ian’s fiance is serving 7 years in prison for both mental and physical harm she caused (Campbell, 2010).
Homicide-Suicide Committed by Women
Homicide-suicide among 35-45year-olds and older members of the community is on the rise in the US, UK and Canada (Bourget et al., 2010). They further explain that 77% of homicides in these countries occur in families where husband kills the wife or vice versa. The recent homicide in the US involves teenagers killing their parents following a dispute about drug abuse, pregnancy and gangs. Female offenders who commit homicide and after that suicide do so after a long history of domestic violence or infidelity where the wife has endured physical abuse from the husband for many years in silence. In Canada, 37% of all older homicides committed by women report cases of long spousal abuse while male homicide is more prevalent than women homicide (Bourget et al., 2010). Women who commit homicide-suicide in the US kill their children and then commit suicide after a bad divorce. Also some kill every family member present at the time of crime then turn the gun to themselves.
Emotional Infidelity of Women who Commit Domestic Violence
According to Bourget and his colleagues, marital problems such as infidelity between spouses contribute to a large percentage of domestic abuse where women are offenders (2010). Other causes of spousal abuse include mental disorders such as depression, drug abuse and the women being in a financially stable condition where the family solely depends of her efforts rather than the husband’s or boyfriend’s.
Causes of Homicide-Suicide
Bourget and his colleagues observe that marital problems such as divorce, infidelity and polygamy contribute to a large percentage of suicide-homicide where women are the perpetrators (2010). They also found that women who commit homicide-suicide crimes do so because of the physical or mental disorders of their spouses. When their husbands are diagnosed with terminal cancer or Alzheimer’s disease, the women who fall into the depths of depression kill their husbands, the whole family then kill themselves instead of letting their husbands die of natural causes. In Canada 41% of the homicide-suicide that occurred in 2009 were executed by women who feared losing their spouses to fatal diseases and divorce (Bourget, 2010).
Sentences of Men and Women in the Justice System
Sentences of Men in the Justice System
Convington and Bloom report that prisons in the early 20th century were meant for male offenders who had committed crime and the justice system provided prison services, accommodation and treatment that were male-oriented (2003). This means that male offenders receive harsh sentences because of the stereotypical views portrayed by the society concerning masculinity and crime. Men served long time in prison, they cut their hair and lived in militaristic conditions. Black male offenders are likely to receive longer sentences when caught with drugs such as crake, cocaine and weapons. Rapists receive 10-20 years of imprisonment while murderers serve from twenty years to life sentence in prison depending on the type of crime they have committed. Most sentences for male offenders are placed without parole hearing.
Sentences Women in the Justice System
Women who are convicted of crime serve the same time in prison as men. However, the conditions of serving time in jail are more adverse for women because the prison services do not favor women. Most women who commit crime fail to pay for bail because they are poor, unemployed, unskilled or they depend financially on male members of the society (Covington & Bloom, 2010). In the past women who committed violent crime were given community sanctions but contemporary justice system exercises equality in sentencing both men and women after a crime.
Sentences of Women Versus Men
Men and women in the contemporary justice system receive the same form of sentences whether it is serving time in prison of receiving the death penalty in some states in the US (Cooper & Smith, 2011). However, women are more disadvantaged than men because the prison conditions, the prison services and militaristic treatment do not favor them. Correctional institutions in the US are male-oriented in the services they provide, the accommodation given and treatment of prisoners. Women lack proper living and working condition because their physiological characters differ from those of men. Criminal justice system does not intend to improve the services they provide to women offenders (Covington & Bloom, 2010).
Judgment of Women
Women who are Judged Harshly
According to Pollock, black young women who engage in violent crimes tend to receive harsh sentences as compared to the black men (2010). This is because the war on drugs has intensified and many black women are now representing the African American community in prison. Research shows that beautiful women tend to receive shorter sentences for the crime they commit because of the appeal they hold to the jury and the public in case the trial is open (Levinson, 2002).
Women who are Judged Leniently
Women who receive lenient sentences commit lighter crimes, are the only parents of large families or who manages to charm the public or the jury physically (Miller 2009). The US criminal justice system will provide lenient sentence to a woman who has a family to look after because the jury considers emancipating the women rather than providing state funds to care for the family that is left behind (Pollock 2011).
Women are Judged More Leniently than Men
The black community in the criminal justice system in the US is disproportionally represented. This implies that the mainstream media has stereotyped young black men who receive harsher sentences than women because the jury and judge think that these black offenders are more dangerous, which could or could not be true (Pollock, 201). Sarnikar and his colleagues explain that women receive shorter and lenient sentences as compared to men for some crimes, which is in accordance with the chivalry effect (2007). There is a story of a woman who was caught after committing adultery. This crime was panished by a capital offense during the time. People wanted a capital punishment that is death by stoning but Jesus, who was the criminal and justice leader at the time asked the crowd to throw their stones if they were flawless; hence letting the adulteress walk free (John 8: 7-11).
Crime in the US, UK and Canada is skyrocketing because of various factors such as economic oppression, gang related violence, drug abuse, marital problems and mental disorders. Female offenders are increasing in the criminal justice institution where some receive harsher sentences while most receive lenient sentences as compared to men. The living and working conditions in the prisons do not favor women because these prisons were built for male offenders while parity is practiced in all justice agencies in the UK, US and Canada. Women continue to commit heinous crimes but the contemporary society still believes that masculinity is linked to crime and the female offenders who commit the same crime as men are treated more harshly because it is considered uncivilized.