Women In Crime Essay, Research Paper
Women who involve themselves in criminal behavior is not uncommoncompared to their male counterparts. It is an issue that exists and must not be overlookedeven though it may be suggested that women are perceived to be civil and caring. Anyindividual, including women have the capabilities of performing some type deviantbehavior that may lead a life of crime. The purpose of this paper is to show the readervarious explanations or theories why women engage in violent crimes and their decision toescape it. Casualties Of Community Disorder (Women s Careers In Violent Crime),written by Deborah R. Baskin and Ira B. Sommers will be my prime source of realaccounts of women who strayed in violent crime. To fully understand what promptedthese women to venture into crime, I will also use the book A PRIMER ON CRIME ANDDELINQUENCY , written by Robert M. Bohm. As we all know, women have endured the harsh reality to compete andsurvive in a society that is predominantly favored by men. Overtime, women wereexpected to preserve the status of good mother and wife. But in all reality, women are notall the same and are compelled like everyone else to commit crimes due to forces that mayinclude drug abuse, victimization, criminal opportunities, and self gratification of terroristacts. To have a better understanding of these forces I just mentioned, I will use thesociological approach to explain the question why? . Institutions play a vital part in the development of a child, especiallyschooling. Its a necessary place for learning and personal growth. In today s society, theplace of learning has been known more of a care center to juveniles who find school moreof a hindrance and a bore. In Casualties Of Criminal Disorder, (pg64) it reports thatyoung women meet their delinquent peers here (schools in the inner city) and begin a form of deviant behavior that may escalate to higher crimes. With these peers, these youngwomen start engaging in truancy, vandalism, fighting, drug experimentation, and othermisbehaviors. In their (Baskin and Sommers) findings, 67 percent of these women at theage of 10, were involved in regularly in fights on school premises. By the age of 13, 89percent were regularly truant, 26 percent regularly carried weapons with them to school,and 15 percent were involved in school vandalism. A high drop out rate of 75 percentbefore completing school was also found. These troubling indicators is a formation ofdeviant behavior that led to higher stakes in crime. To support these findings, a youngwoman named Denise recounts her school days Casualties Of Criminal Disorder(pg65): My friends were basically into the samethings as I was . We used to cut classes and burglarizepeople s houses, we would destroy shit, we would go to thepark-a group of us, five or six girls, we used to stick upcouples . We d grab the girlfriend, I d hold the razor. Guysare like apt to give you like whatever so you won t hurt hisgirl.By tenth grade this seemed more exciting,and some of my other friends were dropping out, so I left tohang with them. To better explain Denise s actions, it is fair to say that she was triggered bya sociological factor. I firmly believe that learning is one of the causes of Denise scrimes. According to theorist Edwin Sutherland s [A Primer On Crime AndDelinquency(pg. 95)] differential association theory, he suggests that delinquency anddeviance was learned in inner city places. The disorganization of the area provided adegree of instability that led to the growth of deviant lifestyles and points of view. Juveniles came into daily contact with both deviant and conventional ideas. As a result,they could learn to accept deviance just as easily as they could learn to acceptconventional behavior. Women who involved crime with work was also common. Whether it wasto satisfy a drug habit or add profitable gain to their pockets, it must be mentioned that itdoes exist within society. Baskin and Sommers explains [Casualties In CommunityDisorder(pg. 86-93) that: Patterns of illegal work varied among thewomen. Some abandoned work after periods of licitemployment, whereas others drifted in and out of legal workwhile firmly committed to he illegal economy. Other womenrecounted for us incredible work schedules in which, for themojority of the time they were imployed in the legal sector,they would hold down second jobs during their off hours. The majority of these women were in later onset group. Their overriding addiction to drugs pushed them to securemoney by any means possible, legal and otherwise.Losing sleep, being absent from legal work,partying, and hustling also formed the day-to-day
experience for some of the women in the early-onset group.For these women, crime on the side was a continuation oftheir long term involvement in offending. Initially , itcounter balanced the asocial and boring nature of their jobsin the legal sector. It provided these women with theexcitement, adventure, and camaraderie absent from jobs inthe second labor market. Further, and not unimportant,crime on the sie supplemented the meager incomes theyreceived from marginal jobs.To corroborate these findings, Basking and Sommers interviews Herminiaand she recounts for us her average day of illegal crime on the streets [Casualties OfCriminal Disorder(pg89)]: Now, I d be selling for about 7 years. Iwent up and down. I could make $500. I could make$3,000 a week. It depended. I never stood on the cornerand sold bags or anything like that. It would always bequantity. I had a few customers, four or five customers. Iwas selling ounces with some Colombians. they becamelike my suppliers and stuff. I started like with myself: withmy father came out I started like working with him. Then Istopped working in offices altogether. The best theory that closely connects with Herminia and others like herwho use crime as a way of life is rational choice theory. This is also known as thecontemporary version of classical theory developed by Cornish and Clark. Rationalchoice theory assumes that potential offenders make choices based on various factors inthe physical and social environments. Among the factors influencing choices are thepayoff, effort, support, and risks involved in the potential behavior. In essence, theindividual chooses it, when and where to commit a crime based on the opportunitiespresented to him or her. There is ample evidence that offenders do make choices. Studiesof burglars and drug users demonstrate that these offenders consider an array of factorswhen deciding to commit a crime, including financial or emotional need, the availability ofconcealment, the effort need to gain entry, the presence of potential observers, theanticipated payoff and familiarity with the area. Breaking a vice, such as smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol is verydifficult to adjust to. It is fair to say with these woman who have made crime a necessity,to change for the better is a challenging task. Change of heart may suggest that thesewoman are burned out, want to be positive-productive citizens, or simply not interested inthe lifestyle of criminal behavior. According to Baskin and Sommers, they inform us that[Casualties Of Criminal Disorder(pg.(s) 127-128)]: For these women, the decision to stopdeviant behavior was preceded by a variety of factors. Themajority of these women factors revolves around socialreactions to their behaviors. For instance, many of thewomen reported an increase in their formal contacts withthe criminal justice system-increased arrests, informaldispositions, and even incarcerations. Other womenreported difficulties in maintaining any sort of livingarrangements, including the most basic shelter, food, andclothing. Yet for other women, the final threat ofsanctions or complete withdrawal by family or closerelations affected their decisions to desist. Most of thewomen also recalled a precipitous decline in their physicaland mental health. A few stated that religious conversionsor immersion into alternative socioculture settings withpowerful norms provided paths for cessation. In Casualties Of Disorder(pg. 129), Sonya, a 27-year-old Hispanicwoman, provides us some insight of losing interest in criminal behavior: You get tired of bein tired, you know. I gottired of hustlin , you know. I got tired of livin the way Iwas livin you know. Due to your body, your body,mentally, emotionally, you know. everybody s tryin to getover. Everybody will stab you in your back. Nobody givesa fuck about the next person. and I used to have peopletalkin to me, You know, you re not a bad lookin girl.You know, why you don t get yourself together? I firmly believe that personal choice or free will has led Sonya and manywoman like her to consider a clean a life as an option. Under Classicism, humankind isviewed as having free will. That is, individuals choose to act the way that they do aftercalculating the pros and cons of an activity. Coupled the idea free will is the belief thathuman kind is hedonistic. Under the hedonism seek to maximize pleasure and minimizepain. therefore, individuals choose activities and behaviors based on the calculation of theamount of pleasure and pain will result. Pleasurable behaviors will be undertaken andrepeated, while pain activities will cease. Under classicism, individuals make a conscious,rational decision to commit crime based on the expectation of a pleasurable outcome.With regards to Sonya and others like her, they are opting for a better life through freewill after experiencing all the highs and lows of crime.