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Should gender be a factor in sentencing criminals?

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

  1. efish

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jan 11, 2014

    Posts: 1,361

    The moral value (like fatherhood etc) aspects are really difficult here. Particularly in the way it alters the entire system and how we understand it.

    Give a example of the way it can shut down knowledge.

    Massive war between Feminists in the sociology department down the road. Hardcore perspective that views that prostitution should be subject to severe criminal sanction as it is morally wrong and leads to the objectification of all women as sexual objects.

    Problem solved.

    This school of thought gains administrative power.

    What is it going to do?

    It's shutting down courses and research on the subject of prostitution.

    No need to look at the subject any further, we do not need to understand it as we have the solution.
    It also ensures that no contrary evidence or ideas can survive within the system.

    Place some secular version of John Knox at the head all, roads to understanding will be shut off and only one will remain.

    Here morality becomes in practice a simple way of maintaining order and control of the system.
    Not specific to feminism and can be generalized out to zealots of all stripes, shapes and colors.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
  2. Thecaferacer

    Hitman

    Joined: Feb 3, 2019

    Posts: 747

    Then you are building into the system a get out of jail free card where personal responsibility can be shirked if you have a dependant. Having a dependant should be the exact reason why you wouldn't commit an offence that could lead to potential imprisonment.

    Take an example of a male parent running a heroin dealership from the home address with a child present . No one would argue that he would not be deserving of prison. If it was a female mother why should she be immune from appropriate punitive action.
     
  3. StriderX

    Capodecina

    Joined: Mar 18, 2008

    Posts: 21,762

    **** example. It's always got to be some massive extreme that is so rare it might as well not happen that attempts to stifle a legitimate discussion on the moral case for not punishing the child.
     
  4. wesimmo

    Mobster

    Joined: Mar 19, 2012

    Posts: 2,625

    I raised this point in the other thread, before you start this conversation you need to agree what you want prison to do, punish people or make society better, they're not necessarily the same thing.

    Equality does not mean treating people exactly the same, if you don't get that then you cannot talk about equality from an informed point of view.
     
  5. Dolph

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 17, 2002

    Posts: 47,394

    Location: Plymouth

    Equality means treating people in the same circumstances the same way, without arbitrary discrimination based on irrelevant factors.

    For the vast majority of crimes, gender, race, sexuality and religion are irrelevant factors, hence should not be considered in the sentencing. If being a parent, having mental health issues or having suffered abuse in the past is relevant to a specific case, then it's relevant regardless of gender.

    The idea that a single mother should be treated differently to a single father in otherwise identical circumstances is abhorrent.
     
  6. Thecaferacer

    Hitman

    Joined: Feb 3, 2019

    Posts: 747

    Try living in the real world. Nearly 50% of female prisoners are there for drug offences with a vast amount of those related to possession with intent to supply to support habits.
     
  7. efish

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jan 11, 2014

    Posts: 1,361

    I think the figure may be higher.

    I also think the reality is that we have female prisons so the idea of researching how we treat female offenders in female prisons and how they got in this situation. Is entirely reasonable.

    I don't think we need the political correct police to check that our papers are in order on this issue.
     
  8. Thecaferacer

    Hitman

    Joined: Feb 3, 2019

    Posts: 747

    That's a question that can be applied across the male and female prison population in terms of cause and effect. The specific issue here is whether a male and female committing identical serious offences should be treated differently just because of their gender.
     
  9. efish

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jan 11, 2014

    Posts: 1,361

    Yes but the evidence present to support the argument is this.

    There are better answers than Jail for women offenders

    I am being very specific and I am questioning the evidence base and the manner it was presented at the start of the thread.

    Its presenting evidence that relates to a specific section of the prison population rather than suggesting it is the only aspect of the system that is important.

    Its a really basic observation.

    Clearly if you have no evidence or are misrepresenting what the evidence is you have a serious issue as you have no argument or an argument made on a false premise.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
  10. Dolph

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 17, 2002

    Posts: 47,394

    Location: Plymouth

    The article in question is a gender focused opinion piece that fails to establish why, for example, women convicted of non violent offences are different from men convicted of the same, instead presenting figures without comparison and demanding an emotional response, and talking about existing discrimination in place as a positive, again without evidence.

    It assumes gender is relevant, it does not even attempt to make an evidential case for it, and brings up wider reform issues as if they exclusively apply to one gender, again without any attempt to justify evidentially.
     
  11. do_ron_ron

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Oct 23, 2002

    Posts: 9,376

    That is a very simplistic view. No two cases will ever be the same due to the person's background and life experience and that is without going into the question of what do we want our prison's to accomplish, punishment or rehabilitation. What you might consider irrelevant factors, the law has a different view. Recently we have been imprisoning more people than decades ago. Does it serve society to imprison mothers for a short term rather than have them do some sort of community payback? Most people would agree with jailing for more serious offences but it is what you do to those others that is up for debate.
     
  12. efish

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jan 11, 2014

    Posts: 1,361

    I take it you did not get as far as the first sentence of introduction to the Farmer report in you're in-depth analysis of the article and why it was written in response to the report.


    Whatever the basic merits or errors of the article are the basic observation remains the same.

    The report commissioned by the government looks at supporting the male prison population. The article is focusing on the female prison population.

    How do you view the secretory of states decision to focus on one specific gender here?
    My advice would not be to jump to conclusions in regard to his motives.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
  13. Dolph

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 17, 2002

    Posts: 47,394

    Location: Plymouth

    There are many good arguments for reforming our justice and penal system. There are zero good arguments for doing so based on simplistic gender based discrimination.
     
  14. StriderX

    Capodecina

    Joined: Mar 18, 2008

    Posts: 21,762

    It isn't though is it, it's taking statistics and realising there's more or less an anomaly in the way the penal system handles women, especially when they're typically the single caregiver of a child. (nearly 90% in fact of single parent families are women.)
     
  15. Dolph

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 17, 2002

    Posts: 47,394

    Location: Plymouth

    Don't confuse a policy which may benefit one group more than another with a policy that discriminates by design.

    If you want to instigate a policy that says we won't jail single parents unless there is specific public protection need, then I'll be open to it.

    If you want to instigate a policy that says we won't jail single mothers unless there is a specific public protection need, then I'll call you an idiot and dismiss your plan as discriminatory nonsense.

    Likewise, if you want to consider parenthood as a modifying factor for jail terms, again I'll consider it. If you want to consider motherhood, then you're back into discriminatory nonsense territory.
     
  16. StriderX

    Capodecina

    Joined: Mar 18, 2008

    Posts: 21,762

    Honestly feel it's just because it's advise that has ruffled feathers, as soon as the judiciary can review an equitable system i'm sure it will take into account the circumstance of a single father as being an equal opportunity to hold a serious discussion on a punishment that doesn't unduly harm the child. (unless the crime is extreme obviously)

    I don't think Judges are stupid enough to just carte blanch a discrimination against men when undoubtedly it would just mean changing the reforms at some later date regardless. Hopefully the Lord Chancellor Chief Justice can actually start a committee on this so there's some progress rather than some flimsy article where the public can fling **** at eachother over.
     
  17. efish

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jan 11, 2014

    Posts: 1,361

    Nothing to do with motherhood or single mothers or single fathers.

    The article simple notes at the start that the majority of the 85% of women in prison for non-violent offenses would be better served doing sentences in the community and intensive support to address issues (probation services).

    It then cites the Farmer report which looks how ensuring ties between Fathers and their children should be maintained in the prison system. The article then notes how that is achieved for female prisoners.

    Forms part of a call for wider reform within the prison system for both male and female prisoners with community service used more and prison reserved for those who would not respond to c.s or were violent and a threat to the community.

    It then looks at how relationships between mother and wider family network can be supported for those offenders where prison is the only option.

    Later it uses the Corston report which does argue that for 'equal outcomes' different approaches are needed and a distinct approach is required for women in the criminal justice system.

    For example female rates of offending in the last ten years are not getting worse but more women are going to prison for less serious offenses ( this is the basis for the call for reform here not some ideological perspective but the empirical data) . The horrific rate of female prisoners committing suicide in Scottish prisons indicates the way many of these offenders pose a greater risk to themselves than to society.

    In Scotland these deaths have been a major catalyst for a review of the entire prison system for all prisoners regardless of gender.

    An equal outcome for male and female prisoners and a successful outcome i.e reintegration back into the community and family networks that is being argued for.

    A one size fits all simple leads to unequal outcome is the argument and in the specific case of Scottish female offenders jailed for minor drug convictions that outcome increasingly has been death.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
  18. Thecaferacer

    Hitman

    Joined: Feb 3, 2019

    Posts: 747

    I think you are seriously misreading the key thing Dolph is bringing up.

    In order to give females preferential treatment in terms of sentencing you would need to assume that a) by virtue of being female they have a greater chance of rehabilitation through non-custodial sentencing then men and b) the men's rea for an identical crime was different.

    If you are telling me that prison doesn't work and is overly damaging to an offenders dependants, then that's an argument I'm willing to listen to. Scandinavia is one area that heavy invests in non-custodial rehabilitation.

    However if you are suggesting that a women shouldn't be imprisoned just because they have XX chromosomes and may have a child then it's a flawed premise as it doesn't take into consideration personal circumstances and gravity of a crime. It assumes a man couldn't rehabilitate if given the same opportunities.

    I work with female offenders on a daily basis and the UK court system already has an inbuilt bias towards not jailing women. Since women only make up 5% of the prison population you are discussing a small percentage of overall offending with those jailed commiting offences relating to drug dealing, theft and serious assault (child abuse and neglect is common)
     
  19. efish

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jan 11, 2014

    Posts: 1,361

    I don't think women should get preferential treatment in terms of sentencing.
    I don't think or assume anything here that would be stupid.
    The issue I understand with both male and female's is higher rates of re- offending associated with short term custodial sentences. The re-offending rate is higher for women than for men. Which is the gender distinction here.

    As a professional working in the system what is you're impression of the Corston report? I presume it is this document that has got Dolph all concerned.

    But that is a presumption, evidence and supporting facts are somewhat absent so far. Its difficult to argue against the data.

    If you could pull some evidence on the this bias would be helpful in establishing what the issue actual is.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
  20. Dolph

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 17, 2002

    Posts: 47,394

    Location: Plymouth

    You may not do, the women in prison group, which the author of the article that triggered this article, on the other hand, does.

    https://www.womeninprison.org.uk/about/who-we-are.php