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The Female Offender

The Female Offender
Girls, Women, and Crime

Third Edition

March 2012 | 240 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Scholarship in criminology over the last few decades has often left little room for research and theory on how female offenders are perceived and handled in the criminal justice system. In truth, one out of every four juveniles arrested is female, and the population of women in prison has tripled in the past decade. Co-authored by Meda Chesney-Lind, one of the pioneers in the development of the feminist theoretical perspective in criminology, The Female Offender: Girls, Women and Crime, Third Edition redresses these issues.

In an engaging style, authors Meda Chesney-Lind and Lisa Pasko explore gender and cultural factors in women's lives that often precede criminal behavior and address the question of whether female offenders are more violent today than in the past. The authors provide a revealing look at how public discomfort with the idea of women as criminals significantly impacts the treatment received by this offender population. The text covers additional topics such the interaction of sexism, racism, and social class inequalities that results in an increase of female offenders, as well as the imprisonment binge that has resulted in an increasing number of girls and women being incarcerated.

1. Introduction
2. Girls' Troubles and "Female Delinquency"
3. Girls, Gangs, and Violence
4. The Juvenile Justice System and Girls
5. Trends in Women's Crime
6. Sentencing Women to Prison: Equality Without Justice
7. Female Offenders, Community Supervision, and Evidence-Based Practices
8. Conclusion
About the Authors

The focus on female juvenile delinquents remains an area that is poorly understood for it being a minority phenomenon amongst other factors. The authors have arranged their texts into short sections making the explanations conducive for students to grasp and apply the arguments onto other contexts. There are also tabulated information that provide clearer comparison amongst the different cases and categories. I would suggest that the authors update the references to publications after 2000 so as to ensure contemporary social relevance to the readership.

Dr Jun Zubillaga-Pow
Sociology , University of Liverpool
January 18, 2016

Valuable resource for students

Ms Emer Sweeney
Department of Sociology, University College Cork (NUI)
October 29, 2015

brilliant read! would recommend adopting in lessons as it is useful have a book in the classroom that specfically focuses on female offenders.

Miss Amber Rose Maloney
public services, Sheffield College
August 14, 2015

an excellent text that brings the plight of female offenders to the fore front of criminological research.

Mr Matt Nicholson
Department of Health & Social Studies, Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education
January 27, 2014

An excellent text that provides the reader with provocative but well balanced arguments. A must for all criminology students.

Mr Stuart Agnew
Social Science , University Campus Suffolk Ltd
June 13, 2013

I am covering this course for another professor who uses an earlier this text. However, I will not be using this text for any future coverages. If you can get past all the biased language, incomplete statistics, incomparable comparisons and authors' self-citations, you are really left with a mediocre and partial glimpse into what might be important to gender differences in the system. No worries though, if you are unsure of what is said in one chapter, you will be assured to visit it again in just about every chapter there is in this book. In fact, my students submit Cornell style notes for my classes and this is the only class where the notes come back with comments such as "this chapter offers nothing new beyond what was offered in all other chapters..." I am rather disappointed that I have to pretty much replace the text with journal articles that better explain the whats, whys and wherefores that the required text should.

Dr Jeremy Olson
Criminal Justice, Seton Hill University
February 28, 2013

This is an essential read for any undergraduate student examining gender and crime. Topical, thorough and posing interesting debates throughout, this is an essential read within our gender and crime module

Miss Laura Firth
Public Services, Runshaw College
July 6, 2012
Key features


  • Research literature and data on females' arrests, pathways to court involvement, and corrections have been expanded and updated to reflect recent findings in the field.
  • A more in-depth discussion of girls' aggression has been included, as well as a judicious exploration of whether or not girls are indeed becoming more violent
  • Analysis and results from a recently completed, unpublished study on girls' narratives of school-based assaults has been added to keep readers informed on this timely topic.
  • Updated research on the juvenile justice treatment of girls offenders, including a look at direct files into the adult system, has been included to further explore this population of female offenders.
  • The book has been updated throughout with recent research and theories, new or expanded federal and state programs, and statistical data for such topics as violence against girls and women, girls' gang membership, incarceration rates, and crimes perpetrated by girls and women.
  • The authors have expanded the coverage on women's life behind bars, with a specific focus on those serving life without parole and those on death row.
  • A new chapter with original research that examines women on parole, discussing how gender matters when it comes to surviving parole, and ending with a feminist criminological analysis of evidence-based community corrections.

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1

Chapter 3

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