Criminal Justice-COAS | Women in the Criminal Justice System
P425 | 1442 | Michelle Brown
Women in Criminal Justice is a course dedicated to an examination of
the ways in which gender shapes and complicates the processes of
crime, criminal justice, and criminology. We will survey each of the
three sections of the course by perpetually asking questions about the
relationship between women and the problems of criminal action, social
reaction, and study. In order to address these questions and develop
more, the course will be theoretically framed by a variety of feminist
perspectives. As we progress, we will seek to situate our findings
sociologically, asking how women's experiences are bound up with other
primary axes of social organization, including race and class.
Section 1: Women and Crime
In our first section, we will ask not simply how women's crimes are
different from men's, but also why? What are the social conditions
shaping criminal action among women? What is the nature of the role
of law in reaction to these conditions and acts? How are women
treated as they move through the criminal justice process? Is this
reality consistent with public perceptions of female offenders?
Finally, what is the nature of justice for women?
Section 2: Women and Criminal Justice
The administration of criminal justice is historically a deeply
masculine professional terrain. Today, women are active, albeit
under-represented agents in all arenas of the criminal justice system,
including police, courts, and corrections. What are the issues they
face in performing their duties as women? How have they responded to
these obstacles? Where have they been most and least successful?
What motivates them to pursue these careers? Is the reality of female
justice professionals consistent with popular portrayals and
Section 3: Women and Criminology
In the final section of the course, we will address what it means to
study crime and criminal justice as a woman by opening with the
question: How does gender shape the way in which women do criminology?
What is the historical legacy of women in criminology? What sorts of
issues are female criminologists addressing today? What obstacles and
events have shaped their intellectual and career progress? How has
gender influenced them as teachers and researchers?
Belknap, Joanne. The Invisible Woman: Gender, Crime, and Justice
O'Brien, Patricia: Making it in the 'free world': Women in Transition
Course Packet (available at Collegiate Copies)
Class meeting: Wednesday, 5:45-8:15 p.m., SY 002
Instructor: Michelle Brown, criminal justice department