Current Trends Of Women And Men Offending Criminology Essay

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The United Kingdom has always been known as the country that gave birth to the suffragette movement and the struggle for female equality has always been one of the most discussed themes in the UK. It is not surprising that such a significant event as the suffragette movement and other equality organizations provided a he impact on the development of social, political and legal spheres of the country: "For years the United Kingdom had championed gender equality in public policy, in democratic institutions and through extensive anti-discrimination laws, but erasing disparity between the sexes was an "unfinished project" that the country's officials were striving to complete through legislative reform and stronger women's empowerment policies and programming, a parliamentary Under-Secretary and Minister for the East of England told the Women's Anti-Discrimination Committee today" (Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women, 2008). This essay would examine the implications made due the current trend to "search for equivalence" in women's and men's offending. It is not surprising such a significant event as the struggle for equal rights for women (and it should be noted that it is lasting for more than hundred years already) has significantly impacted the criminal justice. There are a number of investigators who provided numerous researches dealing with the women's and men's offending and there has been developed principally different system of signifying the criminal activity for men and women separately. It is obvious that such a significant progress in criminology is closely connected with the fight for the gender equality. This essay would examine critically the other issues dealing with the gender equality in the sphere of criminology and their changes for the recent times.

History of the British Criminology. Brief Review of the Gender Question in the Past Compared to the Present.

It is a well known fact that for many years women were almost rightless in the United Kingdom (as well as in the whole world) and got to subject to the male power. That is why it is generally considered that women could not deal to the criminal activity and men are more subjected to the ill influence of the criminal world and this action move them to commit crime: "It is generally accepted that men commit more crime than women; a statistic that has led many to look for an explanation for such disparity between the sexes. One explanation has proposed that masculinity and crime are inherently linked, and apparent increases in female offending in recent years has led some to conclude that this must be the result of women's increased masculinity" (Herrington & Nee, 2005, 1). This short paragraph would make a brief overview of the British criminology and gender question among them. It would be essential to mention that the United Kingdom criminology is closely connected with the names of such outstanding criminals like Jack the Ripper, Dr. Harold Shipman, Dennis Nilsen, Peter Sutcliffe, Jack the Stripper and many others we could hardly find three names of women, who listed their names in the British Criminal Chronicles. It is not surprising that during the history of British Criminology there could be hardly found a mention about women serial killers (probably Mary Ann Cotton is the most noticeable among the serial killers of the United Kingdom). The criminal activity in British detective stories often written by men is also mainly connected with the names of men, who written their names in the history of British Criminology and inspired a number of authors to create their outstanding novels. It goes without saying that among the most noticeable criminal figures of the United Kingdom we could hardly find women and it is not surprising: "Men outnumber women in all major crime categories. Between 85 and 95 per cent of offenders found guilty of burglary, robbery, drug offences, criminal damage or violence against the person are male. Although the number of offenders are relatively small, 98 per cent of people found guilty of, or cautioned for, sexual offences are male" (Office for National Statistics, 2004). Women did not seek for being noticeable figure in the Criminal society, such cases as Mary Ann Cotton are rather exceptions than the regular practice and according to the investigative data the majority of women are intended to participate in economical crimes: "Most female crime, according to any measure of female offending, is property crime, it is economic. Despite this, economic rationality, the dominant way of accounting for property crime generally, is the one explanation seldom offered when women enter the equation" (Davies, 1997). The historical observation of the statistical data shows that women participated in the criminal activity rarely then men. The peak of female "offending age" is observed nearly at the 15 for the male offenders its 18 and then the proportions are really slightly differentiate 56 percent for women and 59 percent for men at the age of 21 and higher. Theft is generally considered to be one of the most widely spread criminal activities as for men as well as for men and the statistical data of the recent years have signified a significant growth of female activity in this sphere: "Theft was the most commonly committed offence by both men and women in 2002. For indictable offences, 57 per cent of female offenders were found guilty of or cautioned for theft and handling stolen goods compared with 34 per cent of male offenders" (Office for National Statistics, 2004). It would be obvious to note that some contemporary investigators make a close connection between the growth of female criminal activity to the different feminist movement and struggle for the equal rights. Some investigators see the close connection of the women's offending rising in the fact that among the European countries the United Kingdom is still observing significant differences in salaries of men and women and observation of the other rights. The crime is considered by some psychologists as certain attempt to realize themselves, as even in the sphere of British criminology women consider themselves to be mistreated: "Male offenders have been credited with the faculty of reasoning, women offenders have not. As with the popular stereotypes of women in society generally women offenders are portrayed as hysterical, irrational and incapable of being fully responsible for her actions and crimes due to her biology and sex" (Davies, 1997). Considering that British Criminal system of the past and the present is still portraying women as hysterical, irrational creatures, we should take into account that they mainly commit economic crimes and without any doubts this is closely connected to peculiarities of female psychic organization. The following paragraph would observe the patterns of offending behavior. British criminology developed significantly new approach in understanding men and women in committing the criminal action and this could be undoubtedly considered to be the serious progress in the criminology science.

Patterns of Offending Behaviour: a New Approach for Men and Women

It is a well known fact that criminal science of the past did not make difference between understanding the offending behavior of men and women. Only with a significant progress of the psychological science criminal science, which is closely connected psychology made a significant progress in understanding the criminal behavior. It goes without saying that a 'struggle for equality' significantly influenced this new approach and understanding of the criminal science; the understanding of criminal behavior of men and women. The reasoning they commit crime and the whole term offending behavior as a whole.

The investigators signified several cluster model and investigated the participating percentage of female in the committing different crimes. It goes without saying that they took into account the fact that there was a severe difference between the two investigated groups. Those who born in 1953 demonstrated pretty different results from those born in 1958. And also there was observed a significant growth in the female crime activity observed (due the increased activity of female rights movements and inability to express themselves), especially in committing crime at the young age. Signifying several categories the investigators used a number of clusters to signify specialization of offending and come to the conclusion that after the age of 16 as male as well as female come to the specialization in committing crime: "In broad terms, there is increasing specialisation as male offenders get older. This is measured by considering the next age group in which a reconviction occurs. Those remaining in the same cluster are termed specialists. The majority of male clusters become more specialised with age. However, there is a difference between the pattern observed for shoplifting where specialisation continues to increase into adulthood, and wounding where specialization levels off at age 21. Aggressive property offending and wide-ranging car crime illustrates an exception, with specialisation declining with age. There is no evidence of changes in specialisation for females. A very high proportion (around 80%) in versatile offending who were reconvicted continued with their pattern of versatile offending. In contrast, only about half of the shoplifting cluster who were reconvicted continued as shoplifters" (Soothill, Francis & Fligelstone, 2002 p. 5). Providing such a deep investigation process, the researchers have come to the conclusion that male offenders born in 1953 vary significantly between men and women. They have identified 9 types of male offending, which showed that significant diversity than women offending (born the same age); the investigators identified on three types for female offending. The same time another group, born in the 1958 observed wide variety of offending types for both men and women. The investigators found out that for the male offenders that was observed so called "distinct age profile". For example the types of offending termed as 'non-violent property' and 'shoplifting' won their core popularity at the young criminals aged from 10 to 15. But when it comes for the females, it have turned out that they demonstrated less variation within the age groups. Another significant input of this research into the criminal science that the researchers found out that the growing up process also significantly influence criminal activity of the offenders. Growing up they could be assessed using this methodology and there is an evidence of increasing specialization in older age groups (Soothill, Francis & Fligelstone, 2002 p. 1). The following graph would perfectly illustrate the dominating crime activity for different age for female and illustration for the fact they are less subjected to changes and specialization

(Soothill, Francis & Fligelstone, 2002 p. 5).

The types of offending identified as 'aggressive property offending and wide-ranging car crime' (they are observed in male offending list) turned out to have strong likelihood at the each age group. It goes without saying that providing investigation of behavioral tendencies of the different age groups (especially at the very young age) the researches made a significant input in the investigation of contemporary criminal science and the influence of gender on the criminal activity. It goes without saying that signifying the critical age for certain criminal activity would help criminal practitioners in the preventive job and informational parttern: "The clusters, as descriptive summaries of offending, could supplement the standard categorisation in the official criminal statistics, and provide an alternative view of offending that is closer to the real patterns of criminal behaviour. The recent criminal history of an offender can be summarised and greater understanding can be gained of high risk and low risk groups in terms of future criminal activity " (Soothill, Francis & Fligelstone, 2002 p. 5 - 6). It goes without saying that such investigators help to signify the behavioral peculiarities not only by the age of the criminals, but their gender also play a significant role. This new approach, signified by the separation of the gender role into certain and very important part of the research and it showed the real progress of criminal science. It is essential that men and women should be studied within the criminology separately. This study would help to understand, which of the criminal groups become more proffered by men and which by women. That would help to make criminal science analysis to use individual approach for different criminals and use preventive measures in the risk groups. It goes without saying that such an articles help to understand the core differences between the two sexes. It is very important for the criminal science as its main aim to prevent offending that is why they need the newest methods to reach the aim. Personally I support the idea of separation as due the emancipation period and increase of the feminists movement (alongside with the struggle for the rights of lesbians and gays) the growth of crime activity among the female has become obvious and a number of research connect this to the psychological dependencies to stereotypes, willing to express themselves and liberation of social morality norms. It goes without saying that such investigative practice could help to prevent crime activity at the young age signifying the age of the risk groups and making the core crime type or activity the individuals are subjected due to their gender. As the statistical data is still proving the women are subjected to the economical crime activity and this research made a stress on the fact that theft (could be reffered to as shoplifting), is among the most popular crimes at different age groups. That is why the following paragraph would examine whether the current day statistical data and research prove that the economical crime has become the core problem for the female difference and how do the struggle for equality influenced that fact.

Women and Economical Crime. The Core Trend of the Contemporary Gender Criminology under the Influence the Struggle for Equality

As it was mentioned earlier women are more subjected to the economical crime activity and less to any others. According to the different investigators that is closely connected to the psychological perception of crime by female representatives and such women as Mary Ann Cotton are not excluding from the rule rather than support of it. The female (mostly feminist) investigators of criminal science support the idea that women are more subjected to the economic crime as they are eager to escape from financial poverty and seek for the better and comfortable life if possible. Despite this fact the feminist criminologists are insisting on the fact that the feminine concept is the core one in investigation of so called "crime gender" as every sex has its peculiarities and the reasons such as escape from the poverty are not the single ones in committing crimes by women. Making a stress on the fact that "crime gender" has the core significance in contemporary crimping female criminal researches support the idea that men could have a number of reasons for committing various crimes, the same time they consider that femininity is also the core idea for the understanding: "Precisely what this means for women and girls is not yet clearly theorized but implies that women who 'do crimes for economic gain' would 'do' prostitution, shoplifting, cheque frauds and so on. To develop the idea of 'doing femininity', if we assume the 'doing gender - doing difference' approach, one consequence of this is that we never need to consider the 'generalisability problem' because of the separateness of the gendered explanations, women would simply be emphasizing their femininity" (Davies, 1997). It goes without saying that is pretty different approach to understanding behavioral peculiarities of the offenders. Pamela Davies suggests principally new method to investigation of the contemporary criminology. She consider that generalizing the criminal behavior is really a big fault and the talented criminal investigators understand the separation for gender is necessary for behavioral understanding of the crime peculiarities. The same time some criminal scientists consider that investigation of female aspect does not make any significant contribution as female being less subjected to crime, could not provide interesting cases for investigation and rarely succeed in committing crime: "If women are less into crime and are relatively less successful at it, this is less a result of single-mindedness in the rational pursuit of crime than because they lack access to organizations and social contacts that would enable them to pursue criminal enterprise more safely and profitably" (Steffensmeier 1983, 1025) Making a stress on the fact that women performing economical crimes because of their lack of social contacts and this never would make them successful criminal seems to be quite a risky statement. As current statistical data showed that the growth of female participation in the crime is increasing with every passing year, yet male still commit 80 percent of offending: "Recent years have seen a substantial increase in the number of women coming into contact with the criminal justice system in the U.K., and in particular an increase in the number of women incarcerated. Figures from the Home Office and Her Majesty' Prison Service indicate a rise of 15% in the number of women incarcerated between 2001 and 2002, compared to an increase of 6% for men (cited in Fawcett Society, 2003). Despite such increases, the comparably small number of women within the criminal justice system continues today. Explanations for this have typically come from one of two standpoints: those women simply commit less crime, or that women commit as much crime as men but that this remains hidden" (Herrington & Nee, 2005, 2 - 3). It goes without saying that such supposition raise a number of contradictory questions and again the criminal science as well as many others go back to the gender equality question. It goes without saying that the economical crime, which observes the biggest rate of women involvement, is still one of the most contradictory themes in contemporary criminologists. It is essential that gender aspect significantly influence investigative process. Even now men and women could hardly speak on the same question seeking for answering one question. Seeking for equality both suppositions should be taken into account. The small number of women involved in to the crime is the sign of either their inability to commit crime due the certain reasons (narrow-mindness need scientific support as a theory) or they commit as many crimes as men and they remain hidden. Some researches dealing with the old fashioned stereotypes do not want to take into account the quick development of the current trend and the fact that women get more and more involved into the criminal world due the emancipation and quick development of gender equality (even in the United Kingdom, where it is too early to speak about gender equality between men and women), which in some parts celebrate female domination upon the men. Some male researches investigating the economical aspects of the female crime deal with a number of gender stereotypes, which does not make a good advantage for the development of criminal science: "The stereotypical images of the shoplifter that persist continue to be overwhelmingly female and also now include; the menopausal housewife, the confused foreign tourist, the mother striving to feed and clothe her young children, women and girls tempted by glitzy bright jewelry and clothes. When it comes to further analysis and theories concerned about explaining crime, criminology has generally been gender blind, assuming that crime is a masculine preserve. In addition, explanations in respect of why men and boys might be engaged in property crime have changed several times during the course of the twentieth century" (Davies, 1997). The contemporary criminal science seeks for the psychiatric explanation for the reasoning of committing crime. It goes without saying that this approach would be good for the both genders but not for the male only. It is essential that due to the statistical data male criminal activity is under investigation more than female, but still it is obvious that the same methods are necessary for investigation of the female offending.According to the data provided by the Home Office Press Office, Communications Directorate in 2002 the most typical reasons for committing crime among the women were:

- having no money (54%)

-mixing with the wrong crowd (46%)

- need to support children (38%)

-drink or drugs (35%)

- family problems (33%)

- having no job (33%) (Home Office Press Office, Communications Directorate, 2002, 5)

The significance of the detailed research of this question is still necessary as male offending reasoning is studied more thoroughly that is why the wide variety of reasoning is observed. The contemporary method of psychoanalytical research would help to provide the necessary supportive data to the investigation of the gender problematic within the criminology. It goes without saying that contemporary difference of the criminal studies connected with the gender are significantly confrontation and puzzling the whole process. It goes without saying that significant changes in the collaborative practice should be provided and all the findings separated by gender, as the recent investigation showed that within the research process of the contemporary criminology, gender question is one of the most significant.

Concluding Paragraph. Summarizing the Report

In the end I would like to make a stress that a huge progress was provided in the field of contemporary gender aspect of the criminal studies. A number of scientists provide collaborative practice in order to rid off the stereotypes that significantly settled in the British Criminology and does play for a good advantage as they does not include the same methodology as provided for studying the economical crime committing for the men: "Explanations when it comes to women and girls have ignored the fact that like men and boys they may also be badly or even worse off, have little or no money or earning capacity or legitimate opportunity to earn a decent living now or in the future. Traditional explanations never recognized the economic motivation or the fact that money might be equally a motivating factor for women as for men. The possibility of rationality being a female criminal's attribute has never been systematically explored" (Davies, 1997). The fact provided by criminal researcher Pamela Davies is supported by the statistical data provided in the previous chapter by Home Office Press Office, Communications Directorate. It goes without saying that since this research there have passed already 13 years and a number of things have changes. As it was mentioned earlier collaborative practice was invented and now criminal studies investigate male and female criminal activity separately and this new approach bring pretty different results. It goes without saying that positive changes reflect significantly on the contemporary criminal justice system of the United Kingdom and it goes without saying that the "struggle for equality" impacts these changes a lot. Women seek for the equal understanding and equal seeking for the reasons of their offences origin in order to find the good preventive measures for decreasing the poor statistics. The same time it should be mentioned that struggle for the equal rights caused increasing of the female crime activity and that is really the thing should be taken into account. The raise of the struggle for female rights caused significant raise of female participation in the criminal world. That is why the core attention in criminology should be provided to the investigation of this phenomenon origins and providing a number of preventive measures to decrease it. It goes without saying that the United Kingdom criminology needs a significant gender shift and in the nearest future this shift would be provided: "Socialisation into sex-stereotypes is central to the gender and crime debate within this framework, with socialisation defined as the transmission of appropriate behaviours, roles, attitudes and beliefs from generation to generation. This theory supposes that gender is a highly significant factor in the upbringing of children, with differences found in the socialisation of boys and girls and stereotypical beliefs about gender appropriate behaviours for males and females" (Herrington & Nee, 2005, ). It goes without saying that the changes are already started and soon would reach the required norms.

Speaking about present day state of things it would be obvious to make a stress on the positive and negative influence the "struggle for equality" provided on the criminal science and criminal statistics. The raise of the offending among the youth and poor statistical data, even men are still dominating, it seems that women seek for the equality even in providing equal number of different crimes. That is why the investigators should concentrate their attention on the separate investigation of the criminal activity, seeking the factors that provide the core influence within the criminal activity and finding the methods of reducing.