Female crimesWhat does research say about the relationship between females who commit a violent offense and sentencing?

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marbar57 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Research is telling us that women receive lesser sentences for the same crime than men do.  But, the researchers can't explain why that is. 

One particular pair of sociologists thinks the reason for the leniency that women is based on these two theories:  chivalry and focal concerns.  The chivalry theory uses the idea that women are softer, more fickle, more emotional, and easily influenced by men.  For these reasons, they aren't responsible for their actions.  In turn, the judge and jury feel a greater sense of protection and go easier on them.  The focal concerns theory takes the stance that the courts need to focus their energies where the most crime is taking place-the men.  Statistics show that female offenders are less risky so they give them lesser sentences and let them out early. 

Suffice it to say, most researchers believe that the tendency to give lesser sentences to women is a form of reverse discrimination that is not fair and equitable.  Perhaps our courts need to take a more proactive stance in equal sentencing of men and women who commit the same crimes.  Who knows what will come of it?

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