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SOC 2700 Lecture Notes - Corpus Juris Secundum, Department Of Justice And Correctional Services, Prison

Course Code
SOC 2700
C Yule

of 14
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Gender Responsive Approach to Working with Women in Conflict
with the Law
Definition: Gender Response
-creating an environment through site selection, staff selection, program development,
content, and material that reflects an understanding of the realities of women’s lives and
addresses their issues
-approaches are multidimensional-based on theoretical perspectives that acknowledge
women’s pathways into the criminal justice system
-approaches address social (e.g. poverty, race, class and gender inequality) and cultur-
al factors, as well as therapeutic interventions
-interventions address issues such as abuse, violence, family relationships, substance
abuse and co-occurring disorders. They provide a strength-based approach to treatment
and skill building. The emphasis is on self efficacy
Distinguishing Aspects of Female & Male Offenders
-they come into the criminal justice system via different pathways, respond to supervi-
sion and custody differently, have differences in terms of substance abuse, trauma,
mental illness, parenting responsibilities, and employment histories, and represent dif-
ferent levels of risk within both the system and the community
-to successfully develop and deliver services, supervision and interventions for women
offenders, we must first acknowledge these gender differences
Gender, Power and Behaviour
Men: direct physical aggression
Women: indirect relational aggression
Coping With Child Abuse
Men: act out (violence)
Women: act in (self-harm
Pains of Incarceration
Men: loss of freedom and independence
Women: disconnection from significant others
Gender, Power and Crime
-women are less likely than men to offend
-women commit crime of powerlessness while men commit crimes of power
-when women and men commit the same crime, women are motivated by powerless-
ness while men are motivated by power
The Pathways Perspective
-Belknap (2001) - the pathway perspective incorporates a “whole life” perspective in the
study of crime causation
-because of their gender, women are at greater risk of experiencing sexual abuse, sex-
ual assault, domestic violence, and single-parent status
-Steffensmeiser and Allen (1998) - “profound differences” between the lives of women
and men shape their patterns of criminal offending
-among women, the most common pathways of crime are based on survival (of abuse
and poverty) and substance abuse
From Victimization to Criminalization
Escape from Abuse
-women are more likely to experience sexual abuse as children
-often young women leave home and education early due to abuse. This ends up af-
fecting their economic situation
-substance abuse is one key ways to numb the impact of past abuse
-women are more likely to internalize or “act in” on thoughts of the abuse resulting in
depression, suicidal thoughts and behavior and self-harm
Substance Abuse
-this is one of the key coping mechanisms for many women in conflict with the law
-substances can be street drugs or prescription medication
-they numb the pain and allow the women to work (e.g. sex trade)
-can be linked to economic survival, search for love and sex trade
Economic Survival
-women offenders are 7x more likely to be unemployed and have few job skills
-with low levels of education (45% have less than grade 10), they have less opportunity
to acquire higher paying jobs
-Ontario Works and ODSP leave them far below the poverty line
-trafficking, the sex trade, fraud etc are ways to survive economically
Search for Love
-women view relationships as extremely important
-when coupled with past abuse experiences where love has been equated with abuse,
they are more likely to remain in a relationship even if it is abusive
-offending occurs when they need to do things in that relationship to ensure its continu-
ation - drug trafficking, fraud, substance abuse etc
Sex Trade
-money from the sex trade is far more than many of the women could ever hope to
make in conventional ways
-they are often “bonded” to their “pimp” - he takes care of them, gives them drugs which
allow them to prostitute etc
Trauma Theory
-trauma and addiction theories provide a basis for gender responsiveness in the crimi-
nal justice system