We all have heard the Cops theme song “Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?”… But what about bad girls? Are women less expected to commit crime compared to their male counterparts? As a Criminal Justice major, I am interested in finding out the answers to such questions. We know that the criminal justice system doesn’t discriminate when it comes to gender…or does it? What is the likelihood that a woman would receive the death sentence for capital murder? Not impossible but not very likely unless your name is Velma Barfield (serial killer who was the first female to be executed following the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1977). Women who commit ‘petty’ crimes are more likely to receive the minimum sentence, probation, community service, or just a hefty fine compared to what men will get for the same crime. If it is a capital case, women will probably serve life without parole instead of being sentence to death. I personally think this is the case because most convicted women are the sole care giver of their child(ren). The system probably takes this into consideration when sentencing a mother because not only is she being punished, but her children will suffer as well.
In a previous course, I learned that crime overall is in a decline; however, the number of female offenders is steadily increasing and male offending is more rapidly decreasing. This is not to say that women are offending more than men because that is not the case but they are catching up. Basically what this means is if this trend continues for the next few decades, male and female offenders will equally represent the criminal justice system.
Let’s look at the different types of crimes men and women commit. Women are more likely to commit non-violent crimes such as shoplifting, fraud, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, robbery, and sometimes burglary. But when it comes to violence, women can sometimes be as heinous as men. When you consider intimate partner violence, women are more likely to murder their significant others often in a violent manner. Some have the theory that this is so because women are more likely to be abused than men are…they just call it quits first. Unfortunately, more mothers kill their own children than fathers do. I may step on some toes when I say this but consider Casey Anthony.
It is said that masculinity is linked to violence so men tend to be more violent when they commit crime. This includes armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, sexual assault, attempted murder, and of course homicide. Many people are not aware of this, but suicide is actually considered a crime: it is the taking of a life which is illegal in most countries. You cannot prosecute or convict a person for this crime because…well…they’re dead! Even in suicide patterns, women tend to be less violent and overdose on a potent drug or cutting themselves until they bleed out. Men, however, are much more violent (and smarter) and choose to take a bullet to the head.
Why do you think women are beginning to offend more than they have in the past?