of the main sources of stereotyping which is why I havedecided to see if this topic would affect individuals in the criminal justicesystem or whether it is other factors which influence the dealing of offenders.Gender refers to socially expected characteristics for example, women are oftenportrayed as weak, helpless victims whereas men are often viewed as the culpritand more aggressive. Society expects males to commit a crime more than females,this could have an effect on how female and male convicts are treated. Thisquestion can be widely debated as people have argued that gender has a hugeimpact on how criminals are treated in the criminal justice system due tostereotypes whereas others have supported the idea that gender does not have aneffect on the treatment on these prisoners due to the Equality Act (2010).
Thecriminal justice system can be defined as an organisation of practices andinstitutions of governments focused on maintaining social control, preventingand justifying crime, or sanctioning those who violate laws with criminalpenalties and rehabilitation efforts1.Treatment can include how the individual is sentenced by the court based ontheir crime, how prison guards treat the different gendered inmates and howother prisoners treat them. Gender equality over time has transformed the treatment thatindividuals receive today. Men were the dominant gender whereas women had tostay at home and do the chores. The Suffragettes movement succeeded in gettingthe right for women to vote in 1918 which increased the number of womenentering the police force in the UK.
Female convicts wanted to feel protectedand treated fairly and with an all-male police force, many didn’t believe thiswas being met.2This information was gathered from the academic and professional book ‘TheOxford handbook of Criminology’ and was written by Mike Maguire who is aProfessor in Criminology, so the data is likely to be accurate and unbias,however, the book was published in 2007 so the facts may have altered sincethen which could make the information out of date. The Crown Prosecution Servicewas established in 1985 to work towards fair treatment for individuals and haveimportant roles and responsibilities to ensure this. For example, one of theiraims is to support and observe all offenders and prisoners regardless of genderthroughout their cases.
This includes helping them during rehabilitation andcommunity work as working in the local community will benefit offenders willbenefit them for future employment, this may involve working with the elderlyor disabled as it requires social responsibility.3This proves that both males and females are provided with the help andtreatment they need when they return to society. During the court process, victims have Crown ProsecutionService lawyers to support them, which shows that both males and females aretreated fairly because Lawyers advise them and take their side in the case toachieve justice. Lawyers play an important role as they will take care of anyconcerns or queries that the individual has, and would resolve any problems orissues that may arise during such a difficult and stressful period. Lawyers aimto treat people without judgements and ensure that the individual is notfeeling anxious, worried or nervous prior to the court process. University student, Rhys Vivian, states that once defendantshave received prison sentences, both males and females can be treated fairly inprisons but the category of the prison suitable for them will depend on theseriousness of the case. Both males and females are given the same opportunity tochange their lives despite there being different rehabilitative programmes tosuit both genders. Additionally, within custody, all prisoners would also havechances to receive bonus rewards such as extra pocket money if they behave wellthis scheme is called the “Incentives and Privilege Scheme” which aims toreward good behaviour, and additionally take away privileges if the levels ofbehaviour are found to be inconsistent, e.
g. televisions will be taken away ifgood behaviour is not maintained.4This information is useful as it uses a lot of reliable sources, it is up todate due to it being published in 2015 and is produced to inform not topersuade which makes it unbias. However, it is produced by a student so some ofthe content may be questionable as he is not an expert in this subject. On the other hand, many argue that women and men are treateddifferently in the criminal justice system. Rhys Vincent also indicates that judgescan abuse their powers, because they know that they make the final decision onthe length of a sentence. This suggests that they think they have superiorityover the criminals and that offenders are considered to be at a lower statusthan the members of the Criminal Justice System are, which is evidence ofdisparity. Judges are known to have given male defendants harsher sentences andare more generous towards female defendants, as ‘women are less likely than mento be sent to prison for equivalent offences and when they go to prison, theytend to serve shorter sentences’ 5.
This can link back to the police force and courts being predominantly male,treating them with more respect and have a gracious attitude towards them whichcontrasts to the aggressive attitude usually used towards male convicts. This suggeststhat there is an element of inequality towards males and females because femalejudges could decide to give sentences, which are different for both gendersthat have committed the same crime. Alternatively, because there are more malesthan females being sentenced every year, this suggests that men dominate theCriminal Justice and prison system. In 1979, Holloway prison was opened on thebasis that it was a psychiatric institution, which suggested that it was notnormal for women to commit crime, thus people believed that all females thatwere known as criminals, all had mental disorders. Nineteen years later in1998, the Chief1 En.
wikipedia.org,20172 Maguire, et al. 20073 (Cps.gov.uk,2017)4 (ResearchGate, 2015)5 (Croall,2011).