Perceptions of Female Offenders

How Stereotypes and Social Norms Affect Criminal Justice Responses

  • Brenda L. Russell

Table of contents

About this book


Female offenders are often perceived as victims who commit crimes as a self-defense mechanism or as criminal deviants whose actions strayed from typical ‘womanly’ behavior. Such cultural norms for violence exist in our gendered society and there has been scholarly debate about how male and female offenders are perceived and how this perception leads to differential treatment in the criminal justice system. This debate is primarily based upon theories associated with stereotypes and social norms and how these prescriptive norms can influence both public and criminal justice response. Scholars in psychology, sociology, and criminology have found that female offenders are perceived differently than male offenders and this ultimately leads to differential treatment in the criminal justice system. This interdisciplinary book provides an evidence based approach of how female offenders are perceived in society and how this translates to differential treatment within the criminal justice system and explores the ramifications of such differences. Quite often perceptions of female offenders are at odds with research findings. This book will provide a comprehensive evidence-based review of the research that is valuable to laypersons, researchers, practitioners, advocates, treatment providers, lawyers, judges, and anyone interested in equality in the criminal justice system.


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Editors and affiliations

  • Brenda L. Russell
    • 1
  1. 1., Department of PsychologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityReadingUSA

Bibliographic information