This is by way of being an Addendum to the last post on the gender bias in our criminal justice system. In 2007 the Home Office published a report by Baroness Corston on the treatment of women within the UK criminal justice system, especially prisons, known as The Corston Report. This report contains my all time favourite feminist quote,
Equality does not mean treating everyone the same.
I kid you not. The Baroness liked the sound of that so much, she used it twice. Some animals are more equal than others: it’s right there on the page.
The thrust of the report’s recommendations are for a more understanding, caring, compassionate treatment of female offenders. I could be persuaded that many of the report’s recommendations are good ideas. I tend to think that there must be something more constructive that could be done with offenders than simply have them sit in prison, bored to death, doing nothing for months or years. But I have one little problem with the report. This caring, compassionate and understanding approach is for women only. Of course, the report was commissioned to be about women only – but that only begs the question “why?”. Why have a particular concern for just 5% of the prison population and not the other 95%, based solely on sex?
It is clear from the report itself that the furthest thing from the good Baroness’s mind is to apply a similar approach to male offenders. As a result I am tempted to say that this vile document is the most gynocentric thing I have ever seen coming out of a formal governmental source – but unfortunately the competition in that respect is very strong.
The report originates from a determined mind-set of gender discrimination. The attempt is made to justify this one-sided concern, as you will see from the extracts below which are followed by my comments,
Most women do not commit crime;
Most men do not commit crime, either. (And what a facile comment to make).
The biological difference between men and women has different social and personal consequences;
Yes, men and women are biologically and socially different. How does this justify compassion for one sex only?
Proportionately more women than men are remanded in custody;
“Proportionately more”, eh? Proportionately to what? In the year ending March 2013 some 3,631 women were remanded in custody awaiting trial compared with 44,953 men. The bulk of such remands will be for indictable offences, for which about 6 times more men are tried than women. You will note that 44,953 is actually over 12 times more than 3,631. So the truth is that it is men who are remanded in custody disproportionately more often than women – by a factor of 2. You can only contort the Baroness’s claim into a semblance of truth by taking the remand figures as a proportion of prisoners. But, as shown in my other posts (here and here and here and here) men are sent to prison far more often, and for longer, than women for the same crimes, resulting in a gender disparity in imprisonment of at least a factor of 3.5. So what the Baroness claims is disproportionate remand of women is actually disproportionate imprisonment of men – nice, eh?
Women commit a different range of offences from men. They commit more acquisitive crime and have a lower involvement in serious violence, criminal damage and professional crime;
Even if this were true it would be irrelevant. They get sentenced for what they did. And they are far more leniently sentenced than men (see my previous post). But it is not even true. The pattern of women’s offending is actually fairly similar to that of men, see here and here and here). Note in particular, contrary to the Baroness’s claim, that the same proportion of women prisoners are in prison for violent crimes as is the case for men. The most common reason for a woman to be arrested is for violent offences. The proportion of women arrested who are arrested for violence is the same as that for men.
Relationship problems feature strongly in women’s pathways into crime;
I expect the same is true for men. Even if it were not, in what way does this justify compassion for one sex only?
Coercion by men can form a route into criminal activity for some women;
Ah, yes. Nothing is ever a woman’s fault. There’s always a man to blame somewhere. Where is the evidence to support this claim? Anyone? A source? Reference?
Drug addiction plays a huge part in all offending and is disproportionately the case with women;
Most drug addicts are men.
Mental health problems are far more prevalent among women in prison than in the male prison population or in the general population;
It is indeed a scandal that such a large proportion of prisoners, of both sexes, have mental health problems. But even if the percentage of women prisoners with mental health issues were double that for men, there would still be ten times more male prisoners with mental health problems. That doesn’t seem to bother the Baroness.
Outside prison men are more likely to commit suicide than women but the position is reversed inside prison;
This is a truly vile bit of mendacity. It is outrageous to claim that suicide is a greater problem for women, prisoners or not. From here we learn that between January 2013 and 2 October 2014, 130 men and just 4 women prisoners killed themselves. Even accounting for there being twenty times more male prisoners, this is still a higher per capita rate of suicide for male prisoners – and more than six times the national average. Moreover, the latest data (in 2014) indicate that the suicide rate in men’s prisons is the highest for many years, whilst deaths are down in women’s facilities.
Self-harm in prison is a huge problem and more prevalent in the women’s estate;
A greater percentage of women prisoners self-harm than male prisoners, true. But a greater number of male prisoners self harm. In 2009 5340 male prisoners self harmed (6.7%) compared with 1356 women (31%) – data taken from here. I recall that one male prisoner, in the heat of the 2014 summer, gouged his own eyes out.
Because of the small number of women’s prisons and their geographical location, women tend to be located further from their homes than male prisoners, to the detriment of maintaining family ties, receiving visits and resettlement back into the community;
Oh, this is a good one. The reason why there are few women’s prisons, and hence why they are geographically spread out, is because women are 3.5 to 6 times less likely to be sent to prison than men. So, men are dead lucky to be sent to prison so much more frequently – so their visitors don’t have to travel so far. Barrel scraping, anyone?
Prison is disproportionably (sic) harsher for women because prisons and the practices within them have for the most part been designed for men;
This is another of my favourites. It says that prison is harsher for women because it’s the same as it is for men. Feminist logic does hurt the brain, doesn’t it?
Levels of security in prison were put in place to stop men escaping;
The women’s prison population suffers disproportionately because of the rapidly increasing male prison population and the pressure to find places for men, leading to re-roling of female prisons;
This is another of my favourites. Let me translate. It says that we are putting more and more men in prison and this is really hard on women. It leaves one open-mouthed in admiration at the shear audacity.
Custodial sentences for women must be reserved for serious and violent offenders who pose a threat to the public. Community solutions for non-violent women offenders should be the norm;
OK, but why should this not apply to men also? There is little difference in the proportion of the male and female prison populations committed for violent offences. For example, out of the 10 crime categories used in Ref., the most common for both sexes was “violence against the person”, standing at 28% of the prison population for both men and women. So there is no reason for not treating male prisoners in the same way as women based on the frequency of crimes of violence. It is just flagrant discrimination. The proportion of male prisoners sentenced for violent offences must be decreasing because violent crime has been trending downwards for 20 years, whilst over the same period the male prison population has increased from ~50,000 to ~80,000.
Women must never be sent to prison…to teach them a lesson;
I could not believe I had read this right. Surely there has always been an element of punishment involved in sentencing offenders? Rehabilitation is not the only issue. As far as I am aware the principle of retributive justice, which is expected by society and victims alike, has not been suspended for male offenders – and rightly so. Why is it wrong to teach offenders a lesson…but only if they are female? What more proof of rampant gynocentrism do you need? Princesses must never be punished, but do what you like with the scumbag men.
Women have been marginalised within a system largely designed by men for men;
What does this mean? It means we cannot possibly condone treating women the same way we treat men. It’s nasty in prisons, you know. Not a suitable place for women at all.
Treating men and women the same results in inequality of outcome. Equality does not mean treating everyone the same. The new gender equality duty means that men and women should be treated with equivalent respect, according to need. Equality must embrace not just fairness but also inclusivity. This will result in some different services and policies for men and women. There are fundamental differences between male and female offenders and those at risk of offending that indicate a different and distinct approach is needed for women;
Orwell could have learnt something from Baroness Corston. This is both 1984 and Animal Farm at once – both new-speak and “some animals are more equal than others”. I wonder what the average member of the public would think about the statement “Equality does not mean treating everyone the same ” Eh? It defies belief that anyone has the nerve to pass this off as acceptable in a society which is supposed to be egalitarian. But feminists do, because we have been letting them get away with it for nearly half a century, and over that time they have got bolder and bolder and ever more powerful.
Most women do not commit crime. The biological difference between men and women has different social and personal consequences. Prison is disproportionably (sic) harsher for women because prisons and the practices within them have for the most part been designed for men. Women and men are different. Equal treatment of men and women does not result in equal outcomes;
It makes your head hurt, doesn’t it? Thanks, Baroness, I now understand exactly why “equal treatment” means that you cannot possibly treat women the same as men because, heck, that would be too harsh. Err…on reflection, can you just run that by me again?
Also, I thought you feminists didn’t believe there was any difference between the genders and arguing on the basis of biological differences was some sort of heresy. Oh, I get it. In this case the argument goes in your favour, so it’s OK.
Coercion by men can form a route into criminal activity for some women;
The text of the report amplifies the myriad of ways in which, when women offend, it is really men’s fault. Remember when you were at school aged 7 and the teacher didn’t accept the excuse “Waa! waa! He made me do it”? Well that excuse is now acceptable – for women only, of course.
Men in general appear better able to cope with institutional life. For men prison is a “bad patch; for women it is “life stopping”. For women, prison is not just an interruption in their lives; it can separate them from their children permanently;
This is another great one. Prison is just worse for women, don’t you see? And the reason? Why they can loose their children. Hmm….the family courts, part of the same justice system that brings us this stuff, have taken millions of children off their fathers, and these men haven’t even done anything wrong. But that’s OK. They’re just men. They don’t really feel any sense of loss, not like – you know – real humans – women. No, as far as the Baroness is concerned, men are just Neanderthal clods with no emotions whom you can treat like dogs without inconveniencing your conscience. And Fathers4Justice are just a bunch of ridiculous clowns with no real grievance. We know this because The Guardian and the BBC tell us so.
Women’s physical and emotional health and well-being is damaged by their experience within the criminal justice system in a way that differs from men’s experiences and is beyond the comprehension of some men;
Yes, you’re right there, Baroness, your concept of equality is totally beyond my comprehension.
We are rightly exercised about paedophiles, but seem to have little sympathy, understanding or interest in those who have been their victims, many of whom end up in prison;
Aargh!!! You silly woman, you clearly know nothing. For a start at least 20% of paedophiles are women – and they almost always get away with it (see also this). But worse, this statement could have been made with at least as much veracity of men in men’s prisons. Did you not know that 60%- 80% of male sex offenders against women have a history of having been sexually abused as a child by a woman (Refs.[1-4])? Yes, those men who are the most reviled creatures on the planet would, just a few years earlier, have been regarded as victims – if anyone had known – but they almost never do. Erin Pizzey knew this 43 years ago. Why don’t you?
I would add that I do not rule out the need for a separate sentencing framework for women at sometime in the future, indeed, the statutory duty from next April to take positive action to eliminate gender discrimination and promote equality under the Equality Act might require this in due course;
Mention of the Equality Act might bring on a whole new rant on my part. Suffice it to say that Harriet Harman’s Equality Act allows for positive action to eliminate discrimination where none exists, i.e., to introduce discrimination – in this case by introducing a different “sentencing framework” for women. In other words, one law for men and another law for women. That’s equality, folks.
It can hardly make very much difference since women are so advantaged in practice in any case. My blood would boil, but it’s all boiled off already.
Contrary to some feminist activists, the good Baroness states, “I do not believe, like some campaigners, that no women should be held in custody.” However, she is being somewhat disingenuous. The Daily Mail paraphrased her intentions thus, “Even the most violent and abusive female offenders should not be locked up. Indeed, they would no longer go to one of the country’s 15 women’s prisons, which would all close. Instead, killers such as Rose West*, serving life for the murder of ten young women and girls, would be sent to “homely” local custody units. There they would be allowed to live as a “family unit” with between 20 and 30 other women prisoners, organising their own shopping, budgets and cooking. The units would also allow them to stay close to their families … All the women’s jails would shut within the next decade, and could instead be converted into prisons for men.” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-442113/Womens-prisons-close-decade.html. *and, we would now add, Joanna Dennehy.
This is equality and justice brought to you courtesy of feminism.
References (other than those linked directly above)
- O’Brien, M.J. (1989). “Characteristics of Male Adolescent Sibling Incest Offenders”. Orwell, VT: Safer Society Press.
- Brière, J. and Smiljanich, K. (1993). “Childhood Sexual Abuse and Subsequent Sexual Aggression Against Adult Women”. Paper presented at the 101st annual convention of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Ontario.
- Groth, A.N. (1979). “Sexual trauma in the life histories of rapists and child molesters”. Victimology: An International Journal, 4(1), 10-16.
- Petrovich, M. and Templer, D.I. (1984). “Heterosexual molestation of children who later become rapists”. Psychological Reports, 54(3), 810.
- Gavin Berman and Aliyah Dar, “Prison Population Statistics”, House of Commons Library, Standard No SN/SG/4334, June 2013.