• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How Can Crime Be Related To Social Inequality? Discuss In Relation To Inequalities of Either Race, Gender or Social Class.

Extracts from this document...


HOW CAN CRIME BE RELATED TO SOCIAL INEQUALITY? DISCUSS IN RELATION TO INEQUALITIES OF EITHER RACE, GENDER OR SOCIAL CLASS. Crime can be defined as a violation of the criminal law. Social inequality plays a big part in who commits crime, who is victimised by crime, and how it is dealt with. This inequality can be in terms of race, social class, and, as this essay will examine, gender. It is worth noting that sex and gender are not the same thing. The statistics mentioned in this essay are based on sex, that is, biological difference between males and females. Gender, however has a social basis and is an expression of psychological or cultural identity. Crime is a largely male thing. Richard Collier said "Most crimes would be unimaginable without the presence of men." Men are more likely to appear before courts, more likely to end up in prison, and the majority of prisons are male. Statistics from the Home Office (1999) show that in 1997 only 17% of known offenders were women. 34 % of men born in 1953 had been convicted of an offence before the age of 40 compared with 8% of women. Furthermore, men tend to have longer criminal careers, with only 3% of female criminals having a criminal career of more than 10 years compared with 25 % of male criminals. ...read more.


In 17th century England unmarried mothers were imprisoned because their children were dependent upon the parish, and in the late 1600s homeless women and those with several illegitimate children were sent to American colonies. These punishments served to reinforce the attitudes of how women should behave; those who didn't adhere to these roles were subject to the "fallen woman" stigma. Freedman (1981) identified a growing rate of women in prison between 1815 and 1860. This could be linked to social change, especially urbanisation. Behaviours such as drunkenness, idle and disorderly conduct and vagrancy increased for both sexes, but women were more likely to be convicted due to strict moral codes. There were fewer job opportunities and lower wages for women which lead to female economic marginalisation. Women who couldn't afford to support their families often turned to prostitution. Several theories attempt to explain the increase in female criminality. Lombroso (1900) suggested a theory of social Darwinism in the late 19th century. He believed that biology was a determining factor; a woman's biology determines her characteristics, particularly aggression. He claimed that biologically, women are unfit for criminal activity and therefore women who do commit crime must be pathological. He suggested that for a woman to stray from the "normal" path of "maternity, piety and weakness... ...read more.


Men often give the defence that women don't know what they want, and might be unconsciously asking for it. They often get away with it due to the attitude that women cannot make rational decisions and therefore it is reasonable that the decision is made for them. However, demanding equality in the criminal justice system does not bring positive results. In America, in the mid 1980s, they introduced sentencing guidelines which were neutral with respect to offenders' race, sex, national origin, creed, and socioeconomic status. They were looking for a move from making the punishment fit the criminal to the punishment fitting the crime. This was interpreted in court to mean that women's sentencing should be identical to men's in the respect that there's no consideration to whether a man has children or not. However, women are more often the caretakers of children and so in a single parent family this causes disruption in a child's life. The problem is that they were equating equality with justice. Gender neutrality in the criminal justice system will not remove gender bias as society is not gender neutral. In conclusion, crime is unequal in terms of gender, and will be for as long as roles, stereotypes, and the circumstances in which people find themselves in remain different for either sex. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Compare and contrast white collar crimes and street crimes, while understanding the definition of ...

    This cannot be anymore clear than the current happenings in Weirton Steel. The retirement fund is in government bailout, and the threat of closer is once again very real. When the simple outsider looks at what has gone on in Weirton Steel for the past 10years, it is difficult to put together a convincingly positive cost-benefit analysis.

  2. The influence of social class on health and healthcare.

    Four types of explanation of artefact of measurement, social selection, cultural differences and material inequalities are used to account for the persistence of class health inequalities, but three will be considered. Social selection theory suggests that health is determined in social class through a process of health related social mobility.

  1. Free essay

    Discuss the view that health inequalities can be explained by lifestyle choices made by ...

    than middle class women and with that is the tendency to blame the working class women for not perceiving the benefit of the services offered but maybe it is that working class women find it difficult to talk to middle class professionals and are aware that the doctors remit doesn't

  2. Compare Rawl's Theory of Justice with those of Nozick and Walzer. How may ...

    Walzer understands that goods will be distributed unequally producing inequality. Inequality does not produce injustice provided members of society have shared meanings. "What a larger conception of justice requires is not that citizens rule and are ruled in turn, but that they rule in one sphere and are ruled in

  1. Assess the nature-nurture debate in relation to genders

    I believe we as human beings, are complex and changeable creatures. We manipulate language to constantly reshape our perceptions of the world. As individuals, we are easily influenced whether it is response to political or academic factors.

  2. Gender Capital ? - Bourdieu and Gender Inequality

    It is this ability of capital to reproduce itself that leads Bourdieu to conclude that it is therefore part of the structure of society that both enables and constrains individuals lives. Cultural Capital Bourdieu outlined his theory of cultural capital in an attempt to explain the persistence of class inequality,

  1. Briefly outline one major inequality which exists in the UK today. Analyse and discuss ...

    Radical feminist promote separatism on the basis that women should not seek liberation through equality (and in the event become like men), but need to free themselves from patriarchal control and the constraints of the male dominated nuclear family. In relation to education the hidden curriculum and classroom attitudes teach female subordination, a necessary agent for patriarchy to thrive.

  2. The issues of ethnicity and race is so pervasive in our world that they ...

    America can also be considered a plural society in the respect that the American Indians were set aside land to preserve their laws and culture. Multiculturalism is when the dominant ethnic group creates a national culture for others to follow, but also lets the minorities interject with their own cultures.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work