Feminist criminology is the study of crime in terms of gender for example why men commit more crime than women, why women do more petty crimes, like shop lifting, than violent crime, sexism in the court system, and female victimization. Feminist criminology contains many branches. Liberal, radical, Marxist, and socialist feminism are widely recognized, although other "strands" exist such as postmodernism and ecofeminism. Most feminist criminology involves critiques about how women offenders have been ignored, distorted, or stereotyped within traditional criminology, but there is no shortage of separate theories and modifications of existing theories.
While all feminist theorists share a common focus on gender inequality, there are differing views on the source of the problem and the ultimate solution. Liberal Feminists Freda Adler and Rita argued that sociological factors, not physiology, best explain women’s criminality. There is a strong relationship between women’s emancipation and the increase in female crime rates. As women become more liberated and become more involved in full time jobs, they are more likely to engage in the types of crime that men commit. Thrasher, a leading exponent of the social disorganization perspective, felt that girls and women committed less crime because they were more closely supervised by boys and men. These arguments lacked any factual support.
Most of the crimes committed by women were not related to improved labor market opportunities. Feminist research has shown many female offenders often are single parents and some maybe pregnant resulting in more females receiving lesser sentences rather than imprisonment, as the courts have the added responsibility of children to consider. As far as the crimes themselves, women are more likely to deviate out of necessity, for example shoplifting where a woman may steal from a shop to provide for her children. Even now women primarily commit petty property crimes, such as shoplifting, bad checks, and welfare fraud, which are offenses caused by an increasing feminization of poverty. Women’s crimes tend to follow their traditional roles as shoppers, consumers, and health care providers within the family.
When a woman is arrested for a crime, statistically she is less likely to be arrested following a stop and search whereas a man is more likely; women are more likely to
receive a warning. Females who appear in court whether they are a victim or an offender tended to be regarded more favorably if they fit the stereotypical view of what a woman is, such as caring, gentle etc. When a women receives a harsher sentence it is usually because she is seen not fit the stereotypical view of women especially if she has committed murder, for instance. However a woman who has suffered many years of abuse by her husband then takes matters into
her own hands is often given harsher sentences than some men who kill their wives. Showing that perhaps there is sexism within the judiciary...