Carlen: Glass and Gender Deals

Carlen Studied 39 WC women who had been convicted for a range of crimes. 20 were in prison or youth custody. Carlen argues that most convicted serious female criminals were WC.

Hirschi Control Theory

  • Hirschi argues that humans act rationally and are controlled by being offered deal: conforming to social norms.
  • People commit crime if they don’t believe they will get the rewards, or if the rewards of crime appear greater than the risk.

Carlen argues that WC women are generally led to comfort through the promise of 2 deals:

The class deal: women who work will get a decent standard of living. The women in Carlen’s study had failed to find a legitimate way of earning a decent living, Most had always been in poverty; many could not get a job and had a bad experience claiming benefits.

The gender deal: women who conform to the conventional domestic gender role will gain material and emotional rewards of family life. Some had been abused by their fathers or partners. Over half had spent time in care, which broke family bonds.

As the females from the study gained nothing from either deal, they felt they had nothing to lose by using crime to escape from poverty.

The liberation thesis

Adler’s ‘liberation thesis’ argues that as women become liberated from patriarchy, their offending will become similar to men’s. Women’s liberation is leading to a new type of female criminal and a rise in the female crime rate. Alder argues that patriarchal controls and discrimination has lessened, and opportunities have become more equal. As a result, women have begun to adapt traditional male roles in both legitimate and illegitimate spheres, and their rate of offending has risen. Women no longer just commit traditional female crimes, there are more women in senior positions at work committing white collar crime. However, the female crime rate started rising before the women’s liberation movement began and most female criminals are WC and unlikely to be influenced by women’s liberation.