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Should gender be a factor in sentencing criminals?

Discussion in 'Speaker's Corner' started by Dolph, Jun 23, 2019.

  1. Dolph

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 17, 2002

    Posts: 47,210

    Location: Plymouth

    Sparked by this opinion piece in the guardian from the outgoing chair of the women in prison pressure group.

    There are better answers than jail for women who have offended


    The crux of the position seems to be an arbitrary, highly unequal idea that women should be treated differently by men for the same crime, and hence given different punishment.

    This to me strikes at the very heart of equality and the principle of equal treatment under the law that we should be working to address. Gender, unless it's explicitly relevant to the crime, should not be used as a sentencing factor at all.

    This is not to say that some of the points mentioned in the article are necessarily invalid (such as the points about mental health, childhood abuse and so on), but those things are also highly overrepresented in the male prison population too, and if they should be considered as reasons to alter the punishment, then it should surely apply to both.

    Am I expecting too much from so called equality campaigners?
  2. McstylisT

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Oct 8, 2008

    Posts: 1,743

    Location: ENGLAND !!

    No. Treat them identically. Women’s rights and all.
  3. FishFluff


    Joined: Nov 7, 2003

    Posts: 5,121

    Location: Deepest, darkest Leeds

    I agree with the points raised in the article, but it should apply to male prisoners too.
  4. neckbeardthethird


    Joined: Oct 9, 2018

    Posts: 986

    "the majority of whom (85%) commit non-violent offences"

    Does anyone know what the equivalent percentage for men is ?
  5. VincentHanna


    Joined: Jul 30, 2013

    Posts: 19,071

  6. Dolph

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 17, 2002

    Posts: 47,210

    Location: Plymouth

    Given that sentencing is based on the offence, its largely irrelevant.

    Addition, found a reference.


    Suggests 71% of the population is in for non violent crime. Doesn't have a gender split, but as men are already a significant majority in the prison population it wouldn't skew numbers hugely to use it as a baseline.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
  7. Terminal_Boy


    Joined: Apr 13, 2013

    Posts: 7,063

    Location: La France

  8. azazl187

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jan 19, 2010

    Posts: 2,197

    Yes, 100%!!! Women should get much longer. When they are evil they are reeeeeeal evil!!!
  9. Dolph

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 17, 2002

    Posts: 47,210

    Location: Plymouth

  10. Nasher


    Joined: Nov 22, 2006

    Posts: 13,665

    Nope. Equal rights and all..

    Seems like a lot of "women's rights" people want all the good parts but none of the personal responsibility.
  11. Nitefly

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Sep 24, 2005

    Posts: 31,505

    Do you mean gender or sex?

    If you mean sex, as in male or female, then it seems obvious to me that there should be different sentencing guidelines, to a degree, as men and women ARE different. Jail time is harsher on women than it is on men, IMO, biological clocks and all.

    Equality doesn’t always mean treating people the same, but treating people fairly based on their circumstances.

    Yeah yeah, don’t want the time don’t do the crime and all that jazz.

    Actually reading the article though, it doesn’t say anything other than suggest reducing prison time for women because jail time leads to increase ‘reoffending’. I’m not sure it’s therefore fair to going suggest that ‘hypocritical different standards’ is at the crux of the article.
  12. efish

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jan 11, 2014

    Posts: 1,322

    It does.

    Women and men are treated differently within the criminal justice system.

    One of key point's which illustrates difference is the space, we have prisons for males and prisons for females.
    So if say a women's center is giving its advise and experience of working with offenders within the prison system the structure of the system dictates that is going to be half a story.

    The simple fact is that people are not treated in exactly the same way in the system.

    Equality does not mean everyone is treated exactly the same in the interest of fairness. Such a system denies any sense of agency, that the situation of things is not the same.

    Education system also had this issue. Regimented system which was fair because each pupil learned in the same way.

    We now know that people do not learn in the same way and at the same speed. Education no longer denies the role of agency and individuality in a way it once did.
  13. StriderX


    Joined: Mar 18, 2008

    Posts: 21,462

    Frankly if there's a father that hasn't run off then he should automatically get the child while the mother deals with prison, but there's a minefield of familial issues in the country after divorces became a serious issue.

    The child should come first and care services should always be the absolute last option, I know there are plenty of good foster parents... i'd hazard most of them are busy with already having one/more as it is, you're left with the system itself or bad foster parents. There are just too many awful stories about this system and how a significant chunk of the children end up... If that means letting the mother go, then so be it.

    She should be tagged/a child services officer should be present with a probation officer to assess if it was the right call regularly.

    You can't really win mind you, arresting the mother and destroying the child's life (assuming there's a good relationship and the mother isn't typically a criminal) is going to lead to two criminals.

    Not arresting the mother, can provide the child the sense that crimes aren't that bad and create one anyway... It will depend entirely on mitigating circumstances for this to work imo.

    Frankly the advisors here would have done the necessary research to come to this conclusion, that it would be better than what is currently happening.
  14. 233


    Joined: Nov 21, 2004

    Posts: 12,601

    Location: Glasgow

    after years of gender inequality in sentencing i would advocate women receiving heavier sentences than men to balance out years of injustice.

    is that not how its done?
  15. Thecaferacer


    Joined: Feb 3, 2019

    Posts: 713

    In an identical crime, identical scenario situation then sentencing should be identical.

    However in real terms criminality in teen girls is far lower than males so less chance of a longer criminal record which has a huge bearing on sentencing.

    Im of the hardened mindset that having a child shouldnt preclude you from prison, since prison is primarily for the protection of the public, deterrence, punishment and rehabilitation. Using a child as mitigation makes a mockery of that. It's the cliche of if you can't do the time, don't do the crime.
  16. Jokester


    Joined: Aug 7, 2003

    Posts: 38,840

    Location: Aberdeenshire

    It also highlights how little fatherhood is valued in society when it seemingly isn’t considered in sentencing, even though (could be wrong) absent fathers is a indicator of future criminal behaviour.

    I guess that’s an argument for reducing male sentencing to that of females, rather than the other way round.
  17. StriderX


    Joined: Mar 18, 2008

    Posts: 21,462

    Maybe if the fathers didn't **** off, that would help dissuade the image that they're not valued. :)

    If an absent father is an indicator of future criminality in the abandoned child, then taking their mother as well will just compound it, indeed you'll have a situation where the child simply no longer cares about being "good".
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
  18. FishFluff


    Joined: Nov 7, 2003

    Posts: 5,121

    Location: Deepest, darkest Leeds

    But in the case of a single parent, you're punishing the child for the crime of the mother as in extreme cases that child would enter into the UK's care system. Children in care have vastly inferior outcomes in life.
  19. Stretch


    Joined: Feb 14, 2004

    Posts: 11,538

    Location: Cambridge

    There may be a good case for treating women/men differently, but I don't see why that should be restricted to this issue.
  20. Threepwood


    Joined: Sep 29, 2011

    Posts: 4,751

    Location: Monkey Island

    Everything to do with any individual should be a factor, seems obvious.

    The whole system needs reform imho, but so many things do....