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Does the Criminal Justice System Treat Men and Women Differently?

NCJ Number
C Hedderman; M Hough
Date Published
4 pages
This paper examines available empirical evidence to determine whether the criminal justice system in England and Wales routinely discriminates against women.
The results indicate that, while men and women are treated differently by the criminal justice system, these differences largely favor women. It is true that women are less likely than men to commit crimes, but self-report figures indicate that official statistics exaggerate the difference, women also tend to commit different types of crimes than men. The data show that a higher proportion of female offenders are cautioned for more serious offenses, that women are less likely than men to be remanded in custody, and that women generally receive more lenient sentences than men, even when previous convictions are taken into account. 1 table, 2 figures, and 10 references