Feminist Criminology and Victimization Conjectures in Criminal Justice

Feminist Criminology and Victimization Conjectures in Criminal Justice



Feminist Criminology and Victimization Conjectures in Criminal Justice

Part A

Question 1

The basis of feminist criminology mainly comprises the application of criminology specifically on the study of female crime. Accordingly, feminist criminology originated from the realization that criminology, in general, has always concentrated extensively on male individuals and the criminal acts they commit. As such, the premise is a reaction towards the stereotypes and gender distortions evident within the criminology since its inception. It is arguable that female criminality was foremost studied by Cesare Lombroso as early as the 19th century (Renzetti, 2013). Apparently, female crime, its origins, and the effect in which it posed on the community were significantly disregarded by the crime-based futurity. The criminologists who tried to study female crime such as Otto Pollak were considerably unflattering and condescending of women who engaged in misdemeanors and illegal acts (Renzetti, 2013). Pollak specifically alleged that women commit crime as much as men do. Even though this may seem supportive, he goes on to allege that most of the crime the female sex commits is trivial and thus, unable to be represented in statistics depicting the rate of crime committed. In this respect, Pollak further alleged that most women engaged in acts that involved domestic theft, prostitution, theft via prostitution, perjury, and abortion (Renzetti, 2013).

Despite this, women who were deemed as law abiding retained stereotypes that considerably diminished the state of female crime as a subject worth considering in general criminology. Accordingly, such women were branded as obedient, passive, and even childlike. On the other hand, female deviants were regarded as defiant, aggressive, adult, sexually impetuous, and naturally masculine (Renzetti, 2013). Based on such perspectives, feminists argue that such views have been evident within the psyche of persons within the framework of criminal justice. In spite of the correction and discard that research studies have imposed on these antiquated perspectives, these perceptions continue to linger. Therefore, women as executors of crime or victims still face discrimination based on the assertion of good and bad. Nevertheless, the past two decades have seen a significant change in terms of the treatment of women in relation to the criminal justice framework. The reason for this has been attributed to increasingly extensive law enforcement endeavors, stronger drug-sentencing regulations, and post-conviction restrictions to reentry, which exclusively pose an effect on women (Renzetti, 2013). As such, the contemplation of a gender-based approach towards the research of criminal justice policies has transitioned from an addendum to an experienced reform movement.

Question 2

Despite the position that female criminology establishes against the basic field of study, the philosophy has proved beneficial in explaining the cause of criminal behavior in women. Over the years, criminal behavior among women has been viewed dismally in comparison to the perception of criminal behavior among males. Historically, women have exuded susceptibility towards minor criminal acts. In addition to this, they have comprised a small percentage of the offender populace. Even though women represent a diminutive proportion of the total prisoner population, the reality has hidden a trend within the increasing percentage of women offenders, their engagement in aggressive crime, and has restrained the progression of gender-based schemes meant to address this particular subject. For instance, a consistent increase in reform programs has taken place aimed at explaining the participation in juvenile crime by young women (Renzetti, 2013). Accordingly, delinquent acts performed by women especially juveniles are commonly less chronic than those committed by their male counterparts. Less serious crimes prevail among female aberrant offenders. However, such offenses only conceal other major issues that the women may be fleeing from such as victimization or illegal behavior committed by their guardians. The same premise also relates to adult women offenders.

Accordingly, criminology, when assessing violent crimes among males, has constantly attempted to explain the deeper reasons or grounds that contribute to this level of delinquency. Such attempts have seen studies revolve around aspects of nature and nurture, sociological theories such as anomie, and even criminal psychology. In this respect, female criminology has also attempt to discard the less serious norms associated with female crime by looking deeper into the concealed issues or reasons that actually contribute to the gender’s misdemeanors. Consequently, the respective field has tried to see whether conventional male conjectures can be altered to elucidate female offending via generalizability (Renzetti, 2013). For instance, feminist criminology has tried to address the issue of gender ratio in terms of the crime rate between women and men. Indeed, the field has endeavored to address the question: what elucidates the global fact that women are less susceptible to participation in crime in comparison to men? (Renzetti, 2013) Accordingly, the basis of the ratio originates from the essential disparities between both sexes. One of the probable beliefs revolves on the possibility that male crime may be less if boys were nurtured with the approaches used on girls. With this illustration, it is evident that female criminology elucidates criminal behavior in women.

Part B

Question 1

Victimization comprises the process that an individual undergoes when transitioning into a victim. In spite of the different forms through which the process occurs, victimization based on crime is most common among the populaces. This form of victimization imposes considerable costs and effects particularly on the victim. The first of these costs comprises property loss and damage. This cost refers to the monetary worth of property destroyed, acquired, or not recovered. Accordingly, nearly $87 billion is lost or spent annually to property damage (Wright & Vicneire, 2010). This significant expense is mainly attributed to the property costs based on the procession of insurance claims, which tend to result in lofty insurance rates. Crimes that usually result in the loss, non-recovery, or damage of property comprise larceny, burglary, arson, and theft of motor vehicles (Wright & Vicneire, 2010). In this respect, the victims reimburse the direct expenses that arise from these crimes. The society, on the other hand, bears the payment of costs allotted by insurance firms. Another cost of victimization constitutes the expenses incurred in the provision of medical care to the victims.

Generally, the expenses associated with medical care, victim services, mental care, fire and police services, limitations to productivity, and property loss in totality cost $105 billion on a yearly basis (Wright & Vicneire, 2010). In terms of medical care costs, expenses tend to arise from physician and hospital care, efforts in rehabilitation, emergency medical locomotion, and medication. Insurance administrative overheads such as reimbursement payments and claim processing, funeral and coroner expenditures are also deemed as medical costs attributed to victimization. Still on the subject of the medical expenses of victimization, it is alleged that 10 to 20 percent of spending in mental care is offered to victims based on services that involve psychiatrists, social workers, and psychologists (Wright & Vicneire, 2010). This translates roughly to the use of $6 to $7 million on an annual basis for victims of crimes (Wright & Vicneire, 2010). Lastly, in relation to tangible and intangible losses, costs related to sexual assault and rape account for $127 billion annually (Wright & Vicneire, 2010). This is based on the expenses attributed to tangible expenses related to medical costs, police services, and mental care. Additionally, in terms of intangible losses, $119 billion is allocated to costs based on the decreased quality of life among victims of the respective crime (Wright & Vicneire, 2010).

Question 2

Several theories of victimization attempt to elucidate the reason why certain individuals are usually susceptible to become victims of criminal acts. One of these premises comprises the Lifestyle-Exposure Theory (Hagan, 2008). The theory asserts that criminal victimization tends to occur due to the presence of high-risk periods of time and high-risk vicinities. In terms of the premise, lifestyles are seen as patterned, usual, repetitive, prevalent, or common activities (Hagan, 2008). They comprise the activities that individuals participate in daily, including discretionary and obligatory activities. Based on this definition of lifestyle, the conjecture posits that patterns of lifestyle influence the level of exposure to times and places with variable risks related to victimization. In addition, they influence the frequency of association with persons less or more likely to engage in criminal activities. Simply, variables related to lifestyles and demographics can be construed as contributing towards less or more time utilized in precarious activities and ultimately leading to hazardous outcomes.

A number of studies have illustrated the association between individuals’ daily activities and the susceptibility of victimization based on crime (Hagan, 2008). As such, the things that people do and the way they behave positions them at a lessened or increased risk of victimization. Additionally, a dynamic lifestyle may seem to influence this particular risk by boosting exposure of individuals and homes to probable offenders where protection is low. For instance, increased activity among individuals within a certain residence or location may appeal to perpetrators of different criminal natures to perpetrate. Such activity may be the source that actually attracts the respective perpetrators towards the said vicinity. Alternately, this type of lifestyle may decrease the risk that a person may incur in terms of victimization. For instance, if passers-by, occupants, or neighbors within a residence are active, then such activity may act as deterrence and mostly, reduce the likelihood of a property criminal to victimize that particular residence.


Hagan, F. E. (2008). Introduction to criminology: Theories, methods, and criminal behavior. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Renzetti, C. M. (2013). Feminist criminology. Abingdon, OX: Routledge.

Wright, E., & Vicneire, M. (2010). Economic costs of victimization. In B. Fisher, & S. Lab (Eds.), Encyclopaedia of victimology and crime prevention (pp. 344-348). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

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