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Wrongful Convictions Among Women: An Exploratory Study of a Neglected Topic

NCJ Number
Women & Criminal Justice Volume: 16 Issue: 4 Dated: 2005 Pages: 1-23
Mitch Ruesink; Marvin D. Free Jr.
Date Published
23 pages
This study examined the problem of wrongful convictions involving women in the United States since 1970.
Results suggest there are important gender differences present in the known wrongful convictions of men and women. In particular, wrongfully convicted women were more likely than their male counterparts to be convicted of child abuse or drug violations. As anticipated, rape was more common among wrongfully convicted men than wrongfully convicted women. Racial differences were also found to exist among women. Wrongful convictions involving drug offenses were almost exclusively the province of African-American women. African-American women were also more likely than White women to be wrongfully convicted of murder. However, all of the wrongful convictions for child abuse involved White women. It was recommended that future research investigate these gender and racial differences to determine the extent to which the results might be a product of the databases employed in the analysis. Investigations of wrongful convictions date back to the early 1930s. However, the extent to which innocent individuals in the United States are wrongly convicted is largely unknown. When investigations of wrongful convictions occur, they typically focus on rape or murder. These convictions typically focus on male offenders, even though females are also wrongfully convicted. Two databases were consulted to compile a list of wrongfully convicted women: Center for Wrongful Convictions (CWC) and Forejustice. The study consisted of 42 wrongly convicted women. Tables, notes, references