Criminological Theory

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INTRODUCTION
Criminological theories have rarely been concerned with the analysis of female criminality. Typically criminologists have either been content to subsume discussion of women offenders under ‘general’ theories, that is to say they have implicitly assumed the female is dealt with in discussing the male, or they have dealt with them exceptionally briefly in the way that other ‘marginal’ or ‘special’ categories are treated. The reason offered for this overwhelming lack of interest is that within the population of known offenders, female offenders constitute a statistically much smaller proportion than male offenders. With the exception of offences like shoplifting and soliciting, the number of female offenders nowhere exceed the numbers of male offenders known to the police. But this statistical ‘insignificance’ alone cannot fully explain why so little work has been attempted in this area. Rather the relative absence of work on crimes by women may be considered as symbolic of the nature of the discipline of criminology. Traditional criminology in both the UK and the USA has always had close links with social and penal policymaking bodies with the result that research has tended to be directed towards areas officially designated as social problems. Female criminality has not generally been treated as a particularly important or pressing social problem, not only because of its comparative rarity, but also because of the nature of the offences committed by women. Official statistics, which are themselves a problematic source of information in criminology (Hindess, 1973; Wiles,1970), indicate that women engage mostly in petty offences and, with the exception of prostitutes, most appearances by women in court are for first offences. Women do not seem to pose a serious recidivist problem therefore; nor a threat to society, and so fail to constitute a real problem to the agencies of social control. Failing to become a pressing social problem has meant that



References: Carol Smart. Criminological Theory: Its Ideology and Implications Concerning Women Haralambos and Holbon, 2008.Sociology Themes and Perspectives. Sevennth edition. BY OWOYEMI, JACOB OLUWADARE & ALAPO, CHRISTIANA OLUSEYI

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