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Research on Women and Girls in the Justice System: Plenary Papers of the 1999 Conference on Criminal Justice Research and Evaluation: Enhancing Policy and Practice Through Research, Volume 3

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2000
45 pages
Publication Series
These three papers examine the relationship between violence against women and female criminality, prostitution and sex workers as victims as well as defendants, and the relationship between child abuse and neglect and later criminality among females.
The first paper argues that understanding females’ status as crime victims is central to understanding and responding to female offenders. In addition, race and socioeconomic status also intervene at the intersection of criminality and victimization and deserve fuller exploration. The second paper presents a judge’s opinion that female sex workers who appear in court are victims as well as defendants and that judges can help direct these women toward programs that break the cycle of victimization and offending. The third paper considers whether abuse and neglect in childhood promote criminality later in life by interfering with young females’ normal development. This analysis also suggests that research could reveal ways to intervene effectively by examining aspects of juvenile offending that seem to be precursors of adult criminality. A theme of the three papers is that sanctions should be tailored to the specific characteristics and circumstances of individual offenders and that gender is a special consideration justifying differential handling, given that females enter the justice system as a result of circumstances distinctly different from those of males. Reference notes

Date Published: September 1, 2000