Women in the Criminal Justice Term Paper

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Current standards are based on male offenders and viewed as inappropriate for non-violent female offenders, who constitute the majority of incarcerated women. This also explains the rise of imprisonment for economic crimes, which involve a disproportionate number of women. AI also recommended against criminalizing drug-dependent pregnant women, as doing so had driven dependent women underground instead of towards treatment and this reduced access to prenatal care of treatment. Racism has still been another problem. It has been observed that African-American women have been sentenced to prison at a much higher rate than women of Northern European origin (Ketcham).

AI also reported that 70% of correctional employees and guards of incarcerated women are men and that as high as 80% of these women have been survivors of abuse by the men in those institutions (Ketcham 2001). These survivors naturally do not feel secure in the correctional institutions. In response, AI recommended that only female members of the staff should be allowed in the bathroom and bedrooms of the inmates; complaints of sexual assaults or misconduct by the staff be investigated independently by the Department of Corrections; and charges of rape be prosecuted to the full extent of the law (Ketcham). AI, furthermore, exerted pressure for the restoration of ex-offenders' right to vote.

Other recommendations made to policymakers by other sectors were gender-specific programs for both adult and young female offenders; the expansion of intermediate sanctions and community programs to address the behaviors of female offenders; opportunities to return female offenders to their communities; more alternatives to abusive home situations; continuum-of-care programs for girls in communities nationwide; new and more responsive correctional agency policies to enhance victim services; expanded juvenile victimization prevention programs; data gathering techniques on crimes committed against victims 12 years old or younger; strategies t enhance job opportunities for women; and the implementation of policies that would promote flexibility in criminal justice agencies in balancing career with family life (Gowdy 1998).

The Tenth United Nations Congress (2004) focused on the growing threat of transnational organized crime, especially trafficking of migrants, and the two-fold approach it adopted. The approach consisted of a criminal justice response to prevent the crime and deter the offender and a human rights response to protect and defend the rights and integrity of the victims. Solving transnational crime requires international cooperation and, through international cooperation, useful information on cross-border crime prevention and policy-making can be obtained. The 10th UN Congress warned that researchers of these info themselves could feel threatened by physical danger from and by international criminal organizations, which will resist the research work in order to maintain their secrecy and status quo. These organizations' close cooperation with the police can develop into an uneasy or unethical situation for the researchers.

Issues listed for discussion by the world body included women as offenders and prisoners; the relation between victimization and the status of women; the implications and ramifications of new policies and program in crime prevention and criminal justice; specific health needs, maternal responsibilities, exploitation and abuse during incarceration and the diversity of cultural and racial requirements of female prisoners; crime prevention policies that will address the women's socio-economic status, social and community support and available options; international policies and instruments to insure equality, justice and protection of human rights; the role of women in criminal organizations in securing greater knowledge of criminal organizations' operations and mechanisms on transnational scale; women as victims and survivors; ways to reduce their vulnerability and the development of indigenous strategies that will reduce the incidence of exploitation and abuse; sustainable economic options for them; common strategies and strengthening communication networks between government agencies and non-governmental organizations in providing more effective support to women who resist victimization; support to women and girls who report such crimes and provide evidence in court; and elimination of barriers to such reporting that will support appropriate procedures, mechanisms and processes, while safeguarding the rights of these victims (10th UN Congress 2004).


De Santis, Marie. (2000). Advocating for Women in the Criminal Justice System: Introduction. Women's Justice Center. http://www.justicewomen.com/handbook/intro.html

Gowdy, Voncile B. et al. (1998). Report on the LEAA Task Force on Women. U.S. Department of Justice. http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/reports/98Guides/wcjs98/wcjspdf.pdf

Ketcham, Linda. (2001). Women in the Criminal Justice System. Wisconsin Women's Network. http://www.womensnetwork.org/womenandcriminaljustice.html

Tenth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders. (2000). Women in the Criminal Justice System. Item 6 provisional agenda. Offenders and Victims: Accountability and Fairness in the Justice Process. http://www.ungin.org/Documents/congr10/12e.pdf

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