Increasing arrest rates for girls and women have been documented both nationally and internationally and have propelled the development of promising theories of female antisocial behavior and crime. Nonetheless, many psychological theories focus exclusively on individual characteristics of women that promote criminality. Fewer theorists incorporate the influence of institutional and social policy factors in models of female antisociality and criminal justice involvement, despite growing evidence supporting the impact of these institutional factors on female crime. The present review expands existing conceptualizations by reviewing evidence about the extent to which the response of the criminal justice system disproportionately affects women across four key institutional domains: (1) processing and sentencing decisions, (2) relabeling and responding to youth status offenses, (3) arrests for drug offenses, and (4) pro and dual arrests for domestic violence incidents. Evidence largely supports the existence of gendered practices in the institutional response of the justice system to female crime, in that institutional changes have disproportionately influenced women's involvement in the justice system or have otherwise resulted in consequences that are different for women than men.
- Antisocial behavior
- Criminal and juvenile justice
- Female offending
- Gender bias
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science