What if we sentenced male offenders to the same standards as women?


Yesterday prison reform charity the Howard League revealed that three out of four prisons are currently overcrowded and some are packed to more than twice their intended capacity. Combined with savage cuts to prison service budgets and staffing, this is driving a humanitarian crisis in British jails.  Suicides rose by 64% last year. Serious assaults rose by 30%, assaults on staff by 15%. Sexual assaults are rising rapidly.

Meanwhile my old sparring partner Mike Buchanan of Justice for Men and Boys has been doing the rounds, including on national TV show The Big Question, with an intriguing statistic. He claims that if male offenders were sentenced with the same standards of severity / leniency as female offenders, around 68,000 male prisoners (five out of every six) would not be in prison at all. With this one egalitarian step, the male prison population would fall from 81,000 to just 13,000.

It is an extraordinary, breathtaking claim. Sadly, as with most extraordinary, breathtaking claims, it is abject nonsense.

The source is a blogpost by William Collins, here. Collins argues that men are approximately two to three times as likely to be imprisoned for any given category of offence, that the custodial sentences they are given for the same offences are much longer, and that once sentenced they are likely to serve more time before being released on license or parole. He calculates that these effects are strong enough that between them they account for 84% of the male prisoner population.

On the face of it, Collins’s figures are correct. He does fall for a few statistical fallacies which I won’t bore you with, however much more importantly he fails to account for three enormously important factors that make the rest of the exercise entirely pointless.

The first point he misses is that the single biggest influence on whether a defendant is sent to prison (and for how long) is not their gender, or even the category of their offence, but their offending history. Someone with 15 or more previous convictions is nearly five times as likely to receive a custodial sentence as someone with no previous convictions. Of all people processed in the justice system, women constitute 27% of first offenders, but only 14% of repeat offenders. In other words, while men represent about 73% of offenders in the criminal justice system, 86% of people processed for repeat offences are male. [Source table]. I don’t have statistics on this, but I would suggest it is at least likely that amongst the most chronic recidivists, an even higher proportion is male.

The second huge problem with Collins’s analysis is that he doesn’t allow for the fact that men and women tend to be prosecuted for different types of crime. Around one in six of the male prison population (around 11,000, excluding remand prisoners ) is serving a sentence for a sexual offence. Among woman, the figure is less than one in 50. [Prison Population Statistics, Oct-Dec 2014] Why? Because there are 56 men prosecuted for sexual offences for every one woman. Meanwhile sexual offences are the category where convicted offenders are more likely to be imprisoned than any other, with around 60% of convicted offenders (whether male or female, incidentally, there is no major difference here) receiving immediate custodial sentences. A good illustration of how far awry Collins calculations have taken him is that without any prima facie evidence of biased sentencing in sexual offences, those 11,000 sexual offenders would still be there if male sexual offenders were sentenced identically to female sexual offenders. And yet he estimates that only 13,000 men should be in prison in total.

Finally, and perhaps most critically for the analysis, Collins assumes that men and women committing the same category of offence are committing the same type of offence. This is an enormous, and entirely unsupported assumption. Violence against the person includes everything from minor assaults to mass murder. Theft could mean shoplifting a jar of babyfood or an enormous gold bullion heist. Fraud could be a failure to declare to the Job Centre a few quid earned for babysitting or it could be a billion pound financial scam. Knowing what we do about different patterns of offending by gender, it is utterly nonsensical to assume that the types of offences typically being committed by men and women within the categories are comparable. We simply do not have the data to compare.

After all that, we can only conclude that the claim that 68,000 male prisoners should not / need not be inside has all the solid foundations of a unicorn fart. Mike Buchanan and any other MRAs who latch on to it should stop embarrassing themselves (and seriously misleading their audiences) by quoting it.

Does this mean there is no gender bias in judicial sentencing? Absolutely not. The sentencing guidelines themselves make this clear. Magistrates and judges are advised that mothers should, where possible, be spared prison to avert unnecessary harm to their children, even if the children’s father is living at home with the family. No such leniency is allowed for men, despite extensive evidence of the harm caused to children by imprisoning fathers.

The only British research into sentencing prejudices and biases that I am aware of was this Home Office paper, which conducted qualitative research with magistrates. The subjects were quite frank that they were more inclined to look sympathetically upon a female defendant and show her mercy, for reasons that include straightforward benevolent sexism.

Prison, for both men and women, is an expensive, ineffective and inhumane anachronism in a civilised society. Pretty much every inmate detained is a testament to multiple failures in social policy, social care, education, welfare, mental health and addiction services. There are innumerable strong arguments for reform of sentencing and penal policies. Just about the worst one is that it represents some kind of unfair gender discrimination.

UPDATE: William Collins replied to this post and I respond here

Comments

  1. Wistilia says

    Home Office research: Understanding the sentencing of women

    “A superficial examination of the criminal statistics suggests that, for virtually every type of offence, women are treated more leniently than men. ”

    ” Conclusion. This study reveals major differences in the use of noncustodial penalties for men and women. Women were consistently more likely than men to be discharged even when their circumstances appeared, on the basis of the available data, entirely comparable. ”

    http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130128103514/http://rds.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs/hors170.pdf

  2. Wistilia says

    http://www.canadiancrc.com/Female_Sex_Offenders-Female_Sexual_Predators_awareness.aspx

    The percentage of women and teenage girl perpetrators recorded in case report studies is small and ranges from 3% to 10% (Kendall-Tackett and Simon, 1987; McCarty, 1986; Schultz and Jones, 1983; Wasserman and Kappel, 1985).

    When the victim is male, female perpetrators account for 1 % to 24% of abusers.

    When the victim is female, female perpetrators account for 6% to 17% of abusers (American Humane Association, 1981; Finkelhor and Russell, 1984; Finkelhor et al., 1990).

    In the Ontario Incidence Study, 10% of sexual abuse investigations involved female perpetrators (Trocme, 1994).

    However, in six studies reviewed by Russell and Finkelhor, female perpetrators accounted for 25% or more of abusers. Ramsay-Klawsnik (1990) found that adult females were abusers of males 37% of the time and female adolescents 19% of the time. Both of these rates are higher than the same study reported for adult and teen male abusers.

    75% of sexual predators are male and 25% are female.
    86% of the victims of female sexual predators aren’t believed, so the crimes go unreported and don’t get prosecuted.
    BBC Panorama

    http://www.canadiancrc.com/Newspaper_Articles/MovingF_Female_perpetrators_Child_sexual_abuse_JUL94.aspx

    In a 1981 study, 60 percent of 412 male and 10 percent of 540 female undergraduate psychology students at the University of Washington who recalled childhood sexual contact with a post-pubescent person at least five years older than themselves said their abusers were female. (Fritz, G., Stoll, K., and Wagner, N. “A Comparison of Males and Females Who Were Sexually Molested as Children,” Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 1981, vol. 7,54-59.)

    In another study, doctors at a New Jersey medical clinic found that 11 out of 25 teenage males who revealed that they had been sexually molested named females (ages 16 to 36) as their assailants. These perpetrators were “usually acquaintances of the victims — most often a neighbor, baby-sitter, or other trusted adolescent or young adult.” (Johnson, R., and Shrier, D. “Past Sexual Victimization by Females of Male Patients in an Adolescent Medicine Clinic Population,” American Journal Of Psychiatry, 1987, vol. 144,650-662.)

    Finally, a study of 582 college men found that up to 78 percent of those abused as children had been abused by females. ( Fromuth, M., and Burkhart, B. “Childhood Sexual Victimization Among College Men: Definitions and Methodological Issues,” Violence and Victim, 1987, vol. 2, no. 4, 241-253.)

    http://www.canadiancrc.com/female_sexual_predators_awareness.aspx

    59% or 80% of male sex offenders (depending on the study) were abused by females as children.

    ‘Finally, there is an alarmingly high rate of sexual abuse by females in the backgrounds of rapists, sex offenders and sexually aggressive men – 59% (Petrovich and Templer, 1984), 66% (Groth, 1979) and 80% (Briere and Smiljanich, 1993).

    A strong case for the need to identify female perpetrators can be found in Table 4, which presents the findings from a study of adolescent sex offenders by O’Brien (1989). Male adolescent sex offenders abused by “females only” chose female victims almost exclusively.’

  3. Wistilia says

    Survey finds male abuse approval

    BBC Sunday, 18 June 2006, 12:39 GMT 13:39 UK

    Many of the Glasgow women admitted assaulting a partner

    More than half of women questioned at a Glasgow university said they approved of wives hitting their husbands. The Glasgow Caledonian students were among 6,500 women surveyed from 36 universities for an international study into attitudes on domestic violence.

    Of the 200 women, 60% said it was acceptable for women to hit their husbands while 35% admitted assaulting their partner.

    A total of 8% admitted injuring them – the highest rate in the study.

    The injured men suffered bruises, cuts or broken bones.

    Among European students, only English women were more likely to have carried out assaults, with 41% admitting that they had punched or kicked their partners.

  4. Ally Fogg says

    Wistilia – there is nothing in those six comments that I haven’t addressed myself and discussed many a time in the past.

    And there is nothing in those six comments that in any way alters the fact that the claims made in the Collins blog are arrant nonsense.

  5. Wistilia says

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/10752232/Our-attitude-to-violence-against-men-is-out-of-date.html

    ”’Outside the home, your chances of being attacked or killed are much higher if you’re a man. Men make up over two-thirds of murder victims, 68%. Therefore, of the 540 currently known UK murder victims from 2011/12, whether inside or without the house, 367 were male, and 173 were female. This means that the UK murder rate of men is more than one per day.

    Right across the spectrum from global conflicts to solitary depression, violence is committed chiefly against men. The male rate of suicide is three times that of women, and rising. Suicide in men in their forties and fifties has risen 40% in ten years. And here, at least, in the midst of the gloom, a small beachhead of understanding may be being established: slowly, a conversation does seem to be beginning about the pressures unique to men; the cultural expectations that stoke the fire; the harmful terminology (‘man up’, etc) that boxes them in; the disintegration, vilification and ridicule of ‘traditional’ maleness. But there’s precious little sympathy, especially from war-weary feminists, and all but nothing in the way of support, although perhaps a creeping awareness has begun.

    And then there’s war. The basic format, long established, continues to be mostly men being required to kill mostly other men. In 2009, the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo, published a report, Armed Conflict Deaths Disaggregated by Gender, which found that the number of men who are killed directly – that last word mattering – far outstrips the deaths of women. Women do die and suffer, of course, whether in acts of insurgency, or attacks, including rape, on the civilian population, or from secondary effects, such as diminished hygiene or healthcare. Men, meanwhile, combatants or no, are considered to be legitimate objects of violence. Just consider the values at play when the media reports on terrorist attacks with phrases such as ’20 people were killed, including women and children’. Conscription in times of war has been almost exclusively of men, century after century, and only a small handful of countries, including North Korea, currently conscript women – this may go some way to explaining the IPRI’s findings. Is this bias because we collectively expect men to be good at violence, or because it is their cultural role to die?”’

  6. Ally Fogg says

    Wistilia, you are spamming now.

    Any more posts which do not directly address a point made in the article above will be deleted and I may decide you are not welcome here.

  7. Wistilia says

    Ally, perhaps you’re right, I have not gone into the detail as you have, but I think there is a small possibility you are unnecessarily harsh in your scorn of Collins and co.
    Thanks for your posts on this and other related subjects, much needed.

  8. Wistilia says

    Sure, its your blog and you will have no complaints from me if you delete or block…
    Life is too short…

  9. Wistilia says

    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””Does this mean there is no gender bias in judicial sentencing? Absolutely not. The sentencing guidelines themselves make this clear. Magistrates and judges are advised that mothers should, where possible, be spared prison to avert unnecessary harm to their children, even if the children’s father is living at home with the family. No such leniency is allowed for men, despite extensive evidence of the harm caused to children by imprisoning fathers……………………………………

    There are innumerable strong arguments for reform of sentencing and penal policies. Just about the worst one is that it represents some kind of unfair gender discrimination.””””””””””””””””””””””””.

    I may be confused Ally but surely your above 2 Para’s demonstrate there is an “unfair gender discrimination” in the criminal justice system?

    Maybe not on the scale that Collins and co are putting forward tho.

  10. Archy says

    So given there is clear bias in sentencing as the above comments + article suggest, how many less men would be in jail if they were treated the same as females?

  11. Wistilia says

    “””””””””””””””””””””””””The only British research into sentencing prejudices and biases that I am aware of was this Home Office paper, which conducted qualitative research with magistrates. The subjects were quite frank that they were more inclined to look sympathetically upon a female defendant and show her mercy, for reasons that include straightforward benevolent sexism.”””””””””””””””””””””””””

    Isn’t this another indication of “unfair gender discrimination”?

    Most criminal cases are heard at magistrates courts after all, plus if the Police and CPS see that there is little or no point in prosecuting women because the Courts are going to be lenient with them, then the system breaks down in regards to women offenders and they are treated leniently and let off before they even get to the point of being prosecuted.

    It’s relatively old research you quoted but we have sustained campaigns from the likes of the Fawcett Society and MPs such as Simon Hughes (Justice Minister) who see women as needing preferential treatment when it comes to sentencing.

    So there is a mantra from government to the judiciary in the importance of treating women more leniently in relation to prison sentences, which filters down to the CPS, Police and others involved in criminal matters.

    Look at the pressures on the authorities to treat women differently:

    http://www.criminallawandjustice.co.uk/features/Women-Criminal-Justice-System

  12. sonofrojblake says

    Prison, for both men and women, is an expensive, ineffective and inhumane anachronism in a civilised society

    Citation please.

    Prison is supposed to achieve several things: deterrence, retribution, security and rehabilitation. You may argue that is not an effective deterrent. You may argue that “retribution” as a concept is not something a civilised country should be engaging in. And you may argue, justifiably given recidivism rates, that prisons do not rehabilitate as effectively as we’d like.

    But while the violent or acquisitive scrotes who burgle houses and beat people up and kill them are locked away, their neighbourhoods are nicer, safer places to live. Prison is only “ineffective” because we keep letting the bastards out.

    Violent offenders are about 20k, sexual offenders about 10k, robbery and burglary about 15k between them and theft about 5k. That’s roughly fifty thousand people who really should be off the streets and away from civilised people – regardless of their gender and regardless of whether they’ve recently managed to successfully breed. I can think of no good reason why someone going inside for, say, the third time for violent offences should ever be coming out again. Sure, it’s expensive keeping them inside – but it’s a price I’ll pay with a song in my heart if it means I or my children can walk down the street unmolested and not worry about my house being burgled. Living in a safe, civilised country has its costs, like taxes to pay for the NHS or the BBC, but safer streets are, like doctor’s appointments and Doctor Who, unalloyed Good Things that we should all have access to and everyone who can afford to should pay for.

    The rest, including the over ten thousand in for drugs offences, pose little or no threat to the public. We gain nothing particularly by having them locked up, and we should find other ways to deal with them.

  13. Ally Fogg says

    I may be confused Ally but surely your above 2 Para’s demonstrate there is an “unfair gender discrimination” in the criminal justice system?

    Maybe not on the scale that Collins and co are putting forward tho.

    Yes, well done on finally having read to the end of the post!

    I would say there is certainly gender discrimination in sentencing.

    I believe some of that discrimination is unfair (not all, for example I believe it is correct that responsibility for children should be a mitigating factor, and even if applied fairly that wouldn’t be evenly spread)

    I would suggest it is impossible to quantify the exact extent to which the disparity in the male and female prison population is down to unfair gender discrimination, but it is clearly not equivalent to 5/6 male prisoners or anywhere remotely close to that.

    I wouldn’t be enormously surprised to find that the US research quoted by Collins also applies here – that men are about twice as likely to receive a custodial sentence for the same offence, and that sentences are, on average, about 50% longer for men than women.

    However even if we established that as true, you still couldn’t calculate how many “extra” men are in prison on any given day without knowing the exact details of the crimes committed, number of previous offences, degrees of mitigation etc etc etc.

    I would be very surprised, for example, if there weren’t a lot more men than women being convicted of the most serious violent crimes.

  14. Ally Fogg says

    sonofrojblake

    Citation please.

    There’s a bunch of them here. file:///C:/Users/USER/Downloads/alternatives_to_prison.pdf

    But I’d actually go further than that briefing. If you assume there is a straight choice between sending people to prison and doing nothing at all, then you’re probably right that prison is more effective than nothing.

    However, if you imagine that most of the amount of money we spend on maintaining the prison estate was instead spent on mental health services, social care interventions, addiction treatment programmes, social housing etc etc it is highly likely that your risks of being robbed, beaten up, burgled or whatever would be considerably lower than they are at the moment.

  15. Wistilia says

    Okay so Collins and Co are on the right track but have over-egged it, there is certainly gender discrimination in sentencing.

    It is a worsening problem of discrimination given that the government and campaign groups are consistently vociferous about reducing sentencing for women, despite the fact they are already treated leniently in comparison to men.

  16. Ally Fogg says

    It is a worsening problem of discrimination given that the government and campaign groups are consistently vociferous about reducing sentencing for women, despite the fact they are already treated leniently in comparison to men.

    It is only a “worsening problem” if you take a toddler’s ‘boo hoo snot fair…’approach to gender politics.

    It is a bad thing that more women are locked up in prison than should be or need to be.

    It is a bad thing that more men are locked up in prison than should be or need to be.

    It is a good thing that we are seeing reform of prison and sentencing policies for women.

    It would also be a good thing if we were to see reform of prison and sentencing policies for men, and it is a bad thing that we haven’t yet seen it.

    However in the big picture it is better that we have reform for some than reform for no one. No man is worse off as a result of a woman being treated more humanely in the justice system.

  17. Wistilia says

    My comment was “It is a worsening problem of ‘discrimination'” in favour of women.

    It’s easy to be dismissive and disdainful of those who point out the discrimination between the sexes and government and society’s focus on making the lot of women better, whilst not addressing the issues for men similarly.

    It is often said that men in particular should not whinge or not “boo hoo snot fair” because women are treated preferentially in some areas but that gets us nowhere fast and just panders to the “men should just suck it up” mantra. Men and women should complain loudly about any discrimination meted out to them by the authorities or society.

    You only get to some form of equality eventually by pointing out loudly and consistently the disparities between how groups are treated, whether gender, race or religion.

    Pointing out that women are treated more leniently than men in the criminal justice system, is a way of having the inherent bias in the system perhaps challenge its thinking and slowly move to a position where men are treated similarly as women, reducing the prison population overall.

  18. StillGjenganger says

    @Ally 19
    Is the focus on more lenient sentences for women likely to improve or reduce the chances of equivalent reforms for men? My guess would be that it reduces them: The special focus on women leaves the impression that these things are a problem in the case of women but not in the case of men. And once the solution is in place everybody will be happy that ‘the problem’ is now solved.

  19. sonofrojblake says

    Your “citation” assumes I have the resources to access your C: drive’s download folder. /shrug/

    I’m going to make the reasonable assumption that what you failed to link to talks about “mental health services, social care interventions, addiction treatment programmes, social housing” as an alternative to locking proven violent criminals away from decent law-abiding people.

    The only problem I have with that is that I don’t volunteer to be the first person beaten, robbed or killed by someone on whom your interventions don’t work. Locking violent offenders up unarguably works better if by “works” you mean keeps the public safer. It’s not just better than nothing, it’s better than any other possible intervention that doesn’t physically remove the risk from society and keep it there.

    Analogy: I have a cure for my life-threatening disease. It’s expensive, and a bit painful, but it definitely stops the disease dead in its tracks and it never comes back, guaranteed.

    You’re offering me an alternative treatment. You tell me it’s cheaper. OK. You tell me it’s less painful. Interesting. You mumble a bit when I ask you how effective it is. I point out that my treatment removes the disease entirely from my body. Yours, you tell me, doesn’t, and it almost always works. It’s fairly rare that it fails and kills the patient.

    Let me think.

  20. Ally Fogg says

    Haha, sorry about that. Try again on the citation

    rethinking.org.uk/informed/pdf/alternatives_to_prison.pdf

    You’re offering me an alternative treatment. You tell me it’s cheaper. OK. You tell me it’s less painful. Interesting. You mumble a bit when I ask you how effective it is. I point out that my treatment removes the disease entirely from my body. Yours, you tell me, doesn’t, and it almost always works. It’s fairly rare that it fails and kills the patient.

    But the problem is your solution does not “remove the disease permanently from the body” – if you must use that analogy (which is pretty repulsive, I have to say) it would be more like saying that your preferred treatment decreases your exposure to one specific strain of a virus while increasing your risk of being infected by a bunch of other viruses, both here and in the future.

  21. Carnation says

    @ Ally (and anyone else who’s watch Magnificent Mike’s TV appearances )

    Did he suggest men should be treated with the same consideration as women, or that women should be treated as harshly as men?

    As someone who’s seen the inside of more than a couple of police (thankfully not prison) cells and experienced the criminal justice justice system, I can confirm that perpetrators are often victims, specifically and generally, and the opposite is true. Every person I know that’s been to prison has either a pattern of addiction or previous state involvement.

    Prison can work, but infrequently and the fallout of a criminal record lasts a very long time.

  22. says

    @Ally Fogg – Thanks for your observations. A detailed response would be burdensome in “comments”. So I shall make a response in my own blog shortly.

  23. WorksFromHome says

    Dear Ally et al,
    Thanks for the thoughtful discussion. I’ve spent part of this morning doing some maths on this topic. The interesting (to me) finding of the maths is that relatively modest differences at various points of the criminal justice process can combine to create really stark differences in the prison population. For example if we assume men are 50% more likely to commit a “jail-worthy” crime (let’s assume everyone is caught), 50% more likely to be sent to jail (whether due to the nature of the crime, past behavior, bias etc.) and receive a 50% longer sentence (whether due to the nature of the crime, past behavior, bias etc.) then we will end up with more than 3 men in jail for every woman.
    This runaway effect in the maths means that bias is not necessary to explain the extreme sax ratio of the prison population: the factors Ally describes can combine explosively.
    However, the inverse is also true: even if the gender bias is small, if it operates at multiple points it can produce unexpectedly large results. For example, a 10% bias operating at the decisions of whether or not to give a sentence and how long it should be will increase the male prison population by >15%. In reality I suspect there are many more possible points (e.g., effort by law enforcement to catch criminal, the victim’s decision on whether to prosecute, jury’s decision of guilt). A 5% bias at 5 points will increase the male prison population by >20%. A 1% bias at 100 points will increase the male prison population by 63%.
    As a side note, this also applies to the prison population as a whole. So, if the government wants to appear tough on crime and enacts multiple measures they can interact to explosively increase the prison population irrespective of gender. This has obvious implications for the problem of overcrowding.

  24. says

    Meanwhile my old sparring partner Mike Buchanan of Justice for Men and Boys has been doing the rounds, including on national TV show The Big Question, with an intriguing statistic…

    Once again, the MRAs take a real issue that’s clearly important for men, and make a complete mess of it. Yet more proof that the “men’s rights movement” is nothing but a fraud.

    @Ally Fogg – Thanks for your observations. A detailed response would be burdensome in “comments”. So I shall make a response in my own blog shortly.

    Yep, he has a detailed response — but he can’t respond here, only in a place where he has more control of the dialogue. It’s pretty similar to what Salvador “Wormtongue” Cordova used to say whenever he found his lies debunked on a reputable blog: “Let’s take this argument somewhere else where fewer people will see how crappy my arguments are starting to look, okay?”

  25. says

    Ally, I think you would do well to consider this issue rather more carefully before saying what Mike Buchanan (and, indeed, William Collins) is saying is ‘abject nonsense’. Allow me to assist you in this:

    You say the ‘single biggest influence on whether a defendant is sent to prison is not… their category of offence, but their offending history’, well, Philip Davies, MP for Shipley, and a particularly well researched and clear minded MP who is very concerned about this entire matter said this in a speech he gave in Westminster Hall, on 16th October 2012 (Taken from Hansard (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm121016/halltext/121016h0001.htm), ‘Of sentenced first-time offenders (7,320 females and 25,936 males), a greater percentage of males were sentenced to immediate custody than females (29% compared with 17%), which has been the case in each year since 2005.’ (Davies mentions in that speech that his information and data were provided by the House of Commons Library, so I guess that pretty well shoots your claim out of the water on that one doesn’t it?)

    Then, you say ‘… it is utterly nonsensical to assume that the types of offences typically being committed by men and women within the categories are comparable….This is an enormous and unsupported assumption… we simply do not have the data.’ Well, I suggest we DO have the data and, furthermore, this is not an entirely an original idea of yours. In fact it is the standard feminist canard: the standard ‘get out of jail free card’ (if you’ll allow me just a little pun) to get them off the hook of what is widely known is a naked gender bias against men in the criminal justice system, and an equally naked gender bias in favour of women. In fact it has been around in the feminist echo-chamber for a long time, and it has the fingerprints of the Howard League for Penal Reform all over it. Again, Philip Davies deals with it when he says ‘… Home Office Research Study 170, “Understanding the sentencing of women”, edited by Carol Hedderman and Loraine Gelsthorpe, looked at 13,000 cases and concluded: ‘Women shoplifters were less likely than comparable males to receive a prison sentence … among repeat offenders women were less likely to receive a custodial sentence. Women first offenders were significantly less likely than equivalent men to receive a prison sentence for a drug offence.’

    I think that is another one of your claims sunk without trace, n’est ce-pas?

    And finally, and I give you credit for not offering any direct critique of the point that ‘…once sentenced they are likely to severe more time before being released on license or parole’ (although you do clearly imply it is ‘abject nonsense’) Davies also deals with this issue too: ‘Not only are women less likely to be sent to prison than men, and more likely to be sentenced to a lesser term than their male counterparts, but they are also more likely to serve less of the sentence they are given in prison. In its offender management statistics, the Ministry of Justice says: “Those discharged from determinate sentences in the quarter ending December 2011 had served 53 per cent of their sentence in custody (including time on remand). On average, males served a greater proportion of their sentence in custody – 53 per cent compared to 48 per cent for females in the quarter ending December 2011. This gender difference is consistent over time, and partly reflects the higher proportion of females who are released on Home Detention Curfew’.’

    Sorry my friend, but you are well wrong on just about everything you have said about this issue to date.

    Where you are not wrong is in observing that one sixth of the male prison population is there because they have been convicted of a sexual offence. Well, in the light of the current moral panic being whipped up by feminists and their relentless efforts to get more men convicted of rape and sexual offences, is there any wonder? In fact, I have to hand it to you, I didn’t have that figure. Frankly I find it both astonishing and frightening and I think every man reading this should view it in the same way.

    However, in your classic rhetorical style, you do Mike Buchanan and William Collins a dis-service by doing what you seem to do best – logical fallacies. There are two in this piece of yours: the first is the Red Herring, when you state the bleeding obvious that those sex offenders would still be there if they were sentenced equally to women – well, yes – and your point is? Then, again in classic AF style, you put up yet another Aunt Sally argument by saying ‘ the claim’ that 68,000 male prisoners should not/need not be inside etc. Excuse me – what claim? Who ever said that? I don’t believe either Collins or Buchanan ever did (and, yes, I read and do my research too). Sorry but you put that one up to shoot it down – good shot! But cheap point.

    All that said, what Philip Davies, you, me, William Collins, Mike Buchanan – and uncle Tom Cobley and all KNOW, is that in an age of equality, either women are being treated disgracefully leniently by the criminal justice system, or men are being treated disgracefully harshly. Either way that is not justice. I don’t know about you but I haven’t seen bands of fanatical, angry women parading up and down outside our prisons demanding they be equally represented inside and be given their rightful and equal opportunity to do ‘stir’ like the fully liberated equal creatures they undoubtedly are these days? Perhaps we should have some positive discrimination measures – like all-women defendant short lists to ensure proper diversity is maintained in the dock? Yes, and pigs might fly!

    I really commend you and anyone here who is genuinely interested in what really is an iniquitous situation afoot in our society today to read the entire Hansard speech of Philip Davies. He paints the most remarkable picture of gender injustice in sentencing going on in Britain today.

    And, finally, I don’t think it is fair for you to suggest that anyone is suggesting that men who are rightly convicted should not go to prison. No right-minded person would suggest that. However, I do think any right-minded person would say the current situation is blatantly unfair and that everyone should stand equal before the law even if they do possess a vagina.

  26. WorksFromHome says

    @Herbert 28

    Just a few points about your post.

    1 – Ally suggests prior history is the most important factor with regards to sentencing decisions. You attempt to disprove this by showing that even when history is taken into account men are more likely to go to jail. This does not disprove Ally’s claim, rather it just shows that history is not the ONLY factor. For example, it remains possible history is a major factor, but, in addition, that male first time offenders commit worse crimes than female first time offenders.

    2 – Ally says we do not have sufficient data to ascertain whether the crimes committed by men and women are of similar magnitude. You try to disprove this with stats showing that when crimes are comparable men receive harsher sentences. Firstly this is in no way contradictory with Ally’s suggestion: it remains possible that men do commit more serious crimes than women. All your data can rule out is the absurd statement that men and women NEVER commit comparable crimes. Its also worth noting that the remaining difference after controlling for seriousness of crime could be due to past history and not necessarily gender discrimination.

    3 – Your stats on length of sentence served are interesting, but as they do not control for seriousness of crime, history of offending or behavior whilst in jail they cannot prove the existence of gender discrimination.
    .
    To establish the extent of gender discrimination we would need to (at least) control for past history AND nature of crime. It’s just worth noting that Ally does not doubt the existence of gender discrimination in the judicial system, only the suggestion that it is so extensively responsible for the sex ratio of the prison population.

  27. says

    @Worksfromhome 29

    In response to your No.1: Sorry, I disagree. I do not attempt to disprove anything. I offer an authoritative source that illustrates that male FIRST TIME OFFENDERS are still more likely to be given a custodial sentence than female ones. Yet Ally talks about offending history as being the ‘single biggest influence on whether a defendant is sent to prison is not’. I suggest this is strong evidence that refutes his argument, it doesn’t matter how you try to finesse it.

    Your No. 2: ‘it remains possible that men do commit more serious crimes than women.’ This is a non-sequitur. It remains possible that women commit more serious crimes than men. So what?

    Your No. 3: First, they’re not my stats! Second, you say that they do not control for seriousness of crime, history of offending or behavior [sic] whilst in jail. How do you know? Have you gone back to the source of the data? I haven’t, I simply reported an authoritative, well-researched MP who was speaking in parliament, therefore on the official Hansard record, which is a whole lot better, I suggest, than the argument by assertion to which I was offering a counter argument. And as to your statement that ‘they cannot prove the existence of gender discrimination’, well, I suggest they very strongly point to it. You can finesse the quality of the argument as much as you like, but too many intelligent, concerned people, are voicing some very real concerns in the context of what cannot be doubted: that our society is fixatedly gynocentric and is undoubtedly discriminating in favour of women as a class, against men as a class, in lot’s of areas – because of feminism – a political movement full of highly radicalised and bigoted women (and not a few men too), who are undoubtedly re-engineering society to their own ends in the false name of equality. I mean, fine detail notwithstanding, finessed arguments notwithstanding, there is a huge elephant in the room here. If you want to be an apologist for inequality, fine, go chase the mice if you like: for my part, I want to get to the truth and challenge the elephant.

  28. Ally Fogg says

    WorksFromHome (29)

    thanks, that does just about cover it.

    HerbertPurdy

    I offer an authoritative source that illustrates that male FIRST TIME OFFENDERS are still more likely to be given a custodial sentence than female ones.

    I don’t dispute that. Just as male offenders of all types are more likely to be given a custodial sentence than female ones. So what? It remains true that only 14% of repeat offenders are female, so women as a whole are going to be less likely to be given custodial sentences. The fact that the male first offenders are more likely to be jailed than female offenders adds to the numbers of men being imprisoned, but it doesn’t contradict it. And it remains true that the gender difference
    is far smaller than the repeat offender tariff.

    ‘it remains possible that men do commit more serious crimes than women.’ This is a non-sequitur. It remains possible that women commit more serious crimes than men. So what?

    Well, the “so what?” is a pretty fucking big deal. It is that we haven’t actually got a clue what we are measuring. So we might as well be pulling statistics out of our arse.

    you say that they do not control for seriousness of crime, history of offending or behavior [sic] whilst in jail. How do you know? Have you gone back to the source of the data? I haven’t, I simply reported an authoritative, well-researched MP who was speaking in parliament,

    Well I’m telling you that, and I’m pretty sure William would agree with me. Go read the statistical reports as linked, you can find out for yourself.

    And as WorksFromHome correctly pointed out, there is nothing in Philip Davies’s contributions that contradicts what I say above. I agree in the final paragraph that there are gender biases in sentencing policy, many of which are unfair and unjust. The “arrant nonsense” is that they are equivalent to 68,000 prisoners. oh, and talking of which, you say:

    in classic AF style, you put up yet another Aunt Sally argument by saying ‘ the claim’ that 68,000 male prisoners should not/need not be inside etc. Excuse me – what claim? Who ever said that? I don’t believe either Collins or Buchanan ever did

    The relevant section in Collins’s blog is about halfway down the page, and is even in bold. It says:

    If male offenders were treated in the same way as female offenders there would be only one-sixth of the number of men in prison. About 68,000 men would not be in prison if they were female, leaving a male prison population of only 13,000.

  29. WorksFromHome says

    @Herbert 30
    A follow-up, makes similar points to Ally’s response:
    1 – OK. It appears we might be using different interpretations of “single biggest factor”. I took Ally’s claim to mean that he thought that more variation in sentences given could be explained by the defendant’s past history than by any other single variable (e.g., the nature of the crime). This suggestion is not incompatible with the observation that, controlling for history, male defendants are more likely to go to jail than female defendants. Presumably some other factors are having an effect (such as the nature of the crime or a gender bias). I’m not sure what you took Ally’s claim to mean – that past history is so important that unless you have a past criminal record you won’t go to jail? Or that past history is so important all other factors are basically meaningless? From Ally’s post I think it is hard to suggest he would endorse either of these viewpoints.
    2 – It is not a non sequitur. Ally argued we do not have sufficient data to determine the extent to which crimes by men and women are comparable. You claim we do have the data to do this and cite sentencing rates for some given offences. What I pointed out is that the statistics you provide are not sufficient to determine the extent to which crimes by men and women are comparable and so Ally’s original point stands. I illustrated this point by saying that, given the statistics, it is still possible that men do commit more serious crimes than women (it is also possible, as you noted, that women commit more serious crimes than men). The bottom line is we don’t know, and without this knowledge it is hard to estimate the extent to which gender bias is responsible for the prison sex ratio.
    3 – I am confident the relevant controls were not implemented – the way the statistics are presented rules them out. Regardless, given that Ally and myself (and no doubt others here too) do not think the gender bias is as important as you do, presenting data that cannot distinguish a gender bias from other factors is hardly going to help. As you say, you would rather go after the elephant than chase mice. But the only reason you think the gender bias is the elephant is because of your other views about feminism; the data currently available is not able to support the suggestion that the prison sex-ratio is largely due to a gender bias in sentencing.
    .
    For what it’s worth, I find the prison sex-ratio very troubling. I am just far from convinced a gender bias in sentencing is a leading factor.

  30. sonofrojblake says

    @Ally, 23:

    your preferred treatment decreases your exposure to one specific strain of a virus while increasing your risk of being infected by a bunch of other viruses

    Increasing my risk how? What is the mechanism by which locking up scrote A somehow induces formerly-law-abiding citizens to become scrotes B and C? You appear to be suggesting that we have a natural background level of criminality, and if we lock up the recidivists, other people will step in to take their place. Is there any evidence that this will happen? Evidence I’m aware of seems to suggest that while we currently have the highest prison population ever, we also have a low and declining crime rate. Correlation is not causation, but in this case it is very much in your court to explain what’s going on there, because the naive interpretation is hey, more crims are locked up and there’s less crime going on.

  31. Wistilia says

    “”””””””””””””It remains true that only 14% of repeat offenders are female, so women as a whole are going to be less likely to be given custodial sentences.”””””””””””””””””””

    The government and the judiciary have been sending out a message to the Police and CPS for many years, and also guidelines and instructions that women are to be treated differently throughout the process.

    So even before it gets to Court, women are treated far more leniently than men by those involved, including the Police and CPS. They are instructed to do so by government policy and the judiciary’s attitude to women offenders.

    With this attitude from atop, Police and even those reporting crime by females know very well that women will be treated leniently by the system and on top of this attitude there is the patronising and also the feminist attitude to treating women preferentially in society.

    This all helps to keep women out of the Courts in the first place, whereas men are processed by the system without the same consideration. Repeat offending rates of women are then of course going to be lower as the whole system tries to keep women out of the courts in the first place.

  32. sonofrojblake says

    @Herbert Purdy:

    one sixth of the male prison population is there because they have been convicted of a sexual offence […] I find it both astonishing and frightening and I think every man reading this should view it in the same way.

    I find it to be neither astonishing nor frightening, since I’m at essentially zero risk of being convicted of a sexual offence. In fact, I would rather the proportion of sex offenders in prison was higher. Sex offenders are the one who should be in prison, along with the violent and acquisitive. People who take or sell drugs, people who don’t pay their TV licence, people who avoid tax – there are other, cheaper and more effective ways to deal with them. Tell me half the population in prison are sex offenders, and that sounds to me like a result.

  33. Ally Fogg says

    sonofrojblake

    Increasing my risk how? What is the mechanism by which locking up scrote A somehow induces formerly-law-abiding citizens to become scrotes B and C?

    Well firstly, unless you want to run concentration camps to house millions of people, most criminals come out again at the end of their sentence, and if you have made them more criminally inclined, not less, then you have consequent crime.

    Secondly, imprisoning people has secondary effects on those around, especially the next generations. Something like a third of all people in jails are the children of parents (usually fathers) who had been in prison, and a child is much more likely to become a persistent criminal if their parent(s) had been to prison than if their parents have served any other type of sentence for criminal behaviour, even if allowing for severity and nature of offences committed.

    But most importantly it is the opportunity cost. If the money spent on keeping people in prison were instead spent on keeping people off drugs, giving them the psych help they need, keeping them housed, keeping vulnerable children in better-supported social care etc etc then you would not need the prisons because most of the crimes would not be getting committed in the first place.

  34. Ally Fogg says

    Wistiliia

    The government and the judiciary have been sending out a message to the Police and CPS for many years, and also guidelines and instructions that women are to be treated differently throughout the process.
    So even before it gets to Court, women are treated far more leniently than men by those involved, including the Police and CPS. They are instructed to do so by government policy and the judiciary’s attitude to women offenders.

    All this may be (to a certain extent) true, but it is not the argument being made by William Collins.

  35. says

    @Worksfromhome 32

    Do you know, I’m not going to get bogged down in this minutiae? I have said what I have said and it must stand as its own testament. Picking away at the edges of any argument only achieves what those who engage in it aim for – obfuscation – and I can’t be doing with that. It’s like wallowing around in sick looking for bits of carrot. Neither can I be doing with the endless logical flaws and fallacies that characterise the rhetoric here. If you don’t want to see the elephant in the room, then that is a matter of your will, not common sense. ‘None are so blind who WILL not see’, after all. It is a matter of will. You allege I am biased by a broader hatred of feminism. You might be right, but that doesn’t diminish the truth of my message. In that vein, I commend these words to you:

    ‘… the inferiority of woman was never conceived as so great as to diminish seriously, much less to eliminate altogether, her responsibility for crimes she might commit. There were cases, of course, such as that of offences committed by women under coverture, in which a diminution of responsibility was recognised and was given effect to in condonation of the offence and in mitigation of the punishment. But there was no sentiment in general in favour of a female more than of a male criminal. It entered into the head of no one to weep tears of pity over the murderess of a lover or husband rather than over the murderer of a sweetheart or wife. Similarly, minor offenders, a female blackmailer, a female thief, a female perpetrator of an assault, was not deemed less guilty or worthy of more lenient treatment than a male offender in like cases. The law, it was assumed, and the assumption was acted upon, was the same for both sexes. The sexes were equal before the law. The laws were harsher in some respects than now, although not perhaps in all. But there was no special line of demarcation as regards the punishment of offences as between men and women. The penalty ordained by the law for crime or misdemeanour was the same for both and in general applied equally to both. Likewise in civil suits, proceedings were not specially weighted against the man and in favour of the woman. There was, as a general rule, no very noticeable sex partiality in the administration of the law. This state of affairs continued in England till well into the nineteenth century. Thenceforward a change began to take place. Modern Feminism rose slowly above the horizon. Modern Feminism has two distinct sides to it: (1) an articulate political and economic side embracing demands for so-called rights; and (2) a sentimental side which insists in an accentuation of the privileges and immunities which have grown up, not articulately or as the result of definite demands, but as the consequence of sentimental pleading in particular cases. In this way, however, a public opinion became established, finding expression in a sex favouritism in the law and even still more in its administration, in favour of women as against men… The sentimental side of Feminism, with its practical result of the overweighting of justice in the interests of women in the courts, civil as well as criminal, and their practical immunity from the operation of the criminal law when in the dock, has advanced correspondingly; while at the same time the sword of that same criminal law is sharpened to a razor edge against the man even accused, let alone convicted, of any offence against the sacrosanct majesty of “Womanhood.” Such is the present position of the Woman question in this country, which we take as typical, in the sense that in Great Britain, to which we may also add the United States of America and the British Colonies, where – if possible, the movement is stronger than in the mother country itself – we see the logical outcome of Feminist theory and sentiment. It remains to consider the existing facts more in detail, and the psychological bearings of that large number of persons who have been in the recent past, and are being at the present time, influenced to accept the dogmas of Modern Feminism and the statements of alleged facts made by its votaries. Before doing so it behoves us to examine the credibility of the dogmas themselves, and the nature of the arguments used to support them and also the accuracy of the alleged facts employed by the Feminists to stimulate the indignation of the popular mind against the pretended wrongs of women.’

    These words are a succinct summary of what is afoot in our society today. Yet they were written almost exactly 100 years ago by Ernest Belfort Bax, a Marxist apologist and philosopher, writing from the inside of the very movement that spawned feminism. I’m sorry, but whatever you and Ally and your fellow travellers believe or want to believe, the current reality that women being advantaged and men disadvantaged by a criminal justice system colonised by radical highly political feminists has got ‘previous’. It stands convicted accordingly in my book and the books of other very concerned people who can see what the likes of Harriet Harman, Vera Baird, Yvette Cooper, Alison Saunders et al are up to. If you are a man, you need to watch out for yourself and your brother men, and stand up and be counted in righteous indignation at gross injustice. If you are a woman and, knowing what feminism is up to, yet still support it – shame on you. That is my last word on this topic.

  36. 123454321 says

    “Magistrates and judges are advised that mothers should, where possible, be spared prison to avert unnecessary harm to their children, even if the children’s father is living at home with the family. No such leniency is allowed for men, despite extensive evidence of the harm caused to children by imprisoning fathers.”

    Do you know that really pisses me off! I already knew that, of course, but just being reminded of that fact also reminds me just how anti-male our society has become – a reminder which is undoubtedly pissing off more and more men as the months goes by!

    “It is only a “worsening problem” if you take a toddler’s ‘boo hoo snot fair…’approach to gender politics.”

    I totally agree, Ally, but as I’ve said before, there is no such thing as fairness – life is all about negotiation. I would like to know where the negotiation and decision-making has come from – a form of applied pressure which has put us in the position we are currently in i.e. Mothers get preferential treatment above that of Fathers? Ridiculously sexist typical double standard compounding the inordinate number of other double standards!

    Do you know when that particular advice to magistrates was officially introduced, and who introduced it?

  37. 123454321 says

    “Something like a third of all people in jails are the children of parents (usually fathers) who had been in prison,”

    I look at this a different way. Around a third of people in jail spent their childhood living with only their single-parent (usually Mother). Does that factor contribute towards the fact that single-parent families (usually Mothers) are most likely a bad thing for children?

    During my lifetime, I’ve only ever witnessed the Government supporting the growth of single-parent Mothers, whether that be via benefits, free housing, divorce settlements, imprisoning the Fathers rather than the Mothers etc. all of which appears to have been derived from a feminist-friendly, anti-male set of narratives.

    When you treat men like shit they will act like shit. Not rocket science.

  38. 123454321 says

    I forgot to add the inordinate amount of times children must have witnessed their Mothers clobbering their Fathers, only to see the police called to the disturbance to whip the man off to the cells for questioning. All part of the mass indoctrination process to reinforce the notion that no matter what men do they are always evil and wrong, so send ’em off to prison.

  39. sonofrojblake says

    @Ally, 36:

    most criminals come out again at the end of their sentence, and if you have made them more criminally inclined, not less, then you have consequent crime.

    Well, yes, you’re rather making my point for me there, though. It’s not that we lock up too many violent or acquisitive offenders, it’s that like idiots we keep letting them out again. Sure, give people a couple of chances to reform, but if they don’t show signs of straightening up, make their third trip to prison one they don’t come back from. Fool me once, shame on you. Rob me while out on the streets after four prison sentences that obviously did nothing to affect your recidivism, shame on the entire justice system for failing me.

    a third of all people in jails are the children of parents (usually fathers) who had been in prison

    So… we should let them back out to influence their children more effectively? The lesson children seem to be learning is “prison’s not so bad”. Better surely to make sure those children never, ever see them again and spend some of the money we save inevitably having to prosecute those men subsequent times on interventions to show their children a better way.

    If the money spent on keeping people in prison were instead spent on keeping people off drugs, giving them the psych help they need, keeping them housed, keeping vulnerable children in better-supported social care etc etc then you would not need the prisons because most of the crimes would not be getting committed in the first place.

    It’s not either-or. Sorting “the drug problem” is a different question. Psych help similarly. You seem to be saying that most crime is the fault of society, removing any blame from the adults who commit it. “Most crime” in terms of the prison population is violence against the person or sexual offences. Social care, better housing and psych help aren’t, I contend, going to have any noticeable effect on that. The effective way to reduce its occurence in society is to remove those who commit it from society, and don’t bring them back.

  40. sonofrojblake says

    Numbers boy:

    I look at this a different way. Around a third of people in jail spent their childhood living with only their single-parent (usually Mother). Does that factor contribute towards the fact that single-parent families (usually Mothers) are most likely a bad thing for children?

    I’m a child of a single parent. So are many of my friends. None of them, not a single one, has so much as been arrested for a driving offence, much less actually spent time in prison. You do single parents a massive insult to suggest they are intrinsically harmful to their children’s moral development.

    I credit the statistic you refer to instead to the fact that the people in question did NOT, in fact, spend all of their childhood with just one parent. They had intermittent contact with their jailed parent, either on visiting days or between sentences. This normalised prison in their experience, made it seem not so bad, not so scary. An “occupational hazard” of the life their parents led, something you tolerate because, hey, life goes on.

    How much better it would be if, on a third offence, their parent went away and never came back. How much scarier if they never, ever saw them again – if they were for all practical purposes dead? See how many of them end up in prison then. I’d bet folding money the proportions would change for the better…

  41. Ally Fogg says

    It’s not that we lock up too many violent or acquisitive offenders, it’s that like idiots we keep letting them out again.

    See now you’re just doing the performative fascism thing, at which point I lose interest in talking to you.

  42. 123454321 says

    “I’m a child of a single parent. So are many of my friends. None of them, not a single one, has so much as been arrested for a driving offence, much less actually spent time in prison.”

    Perhaps not, but it’s more likely that children of single parent families will perpetuate the formula by recreating yet another single parent environment – all to the detriment of pretty much everyone because it’s well known that children of single parent families without a supportive Father figure don’t do as well in terms of social behaviour or academic ability. Children need their Fathers just as much as their Mothers.

    It may not apply to you, but I’m not talking about just you.

  43. says

    @44

    “I’m a child of a single parent. So are many of my friends. None of them, not a single one, has so much as been arrested for a driving offence, much less actually spent time in prison.”

    I’m sick to death of people saying perfectly legitimate points aren’t true, because their personal experience is different. On ‘This Morning’ with Caroline Criado-Perez (she won her third ‘Lying Feminist of the Month’ award for a lie on the show about the number of women who are killed by male partners or ex-partners) a psychologist was brought on to support CC-P in the second session. I made a point about Dr Catherine Hakim’s Preference Theory (2000) which showed that while four in seven British men are work-centred, only one in seven British women is, and this has a predictable consequence for the gender balance at the top of private companies in particular. She got very angry at this, saying she and many women she knew worked very long hours. A woman who called in made the same point as her. These women really are the centres of their own universes.

  44. says

    Mike, if you’re “sick to death” of people doubting your BS based on their own personal experiences in the real world, why haven’t you just DIED already?

    …which showed that while four in seven British men are work-centred, only one in seven British women is, and this has a predictable consequence for the gender balance at the top of private companies in particular.

    Wow, it sure didn’t take long for you to go from a perfectly legitimate grievance about male incarceration, back to your favorite pet peeve about women executives.

    She got very angry at this, saying she and many women she knew worked very long hours. A woman who called in made the same point as her.

    Yeah, there’s lots of women who work long hours, either because their jobs require it, or because they’re stuck in corporate cultures and environments where they simply don’t get any respect if they stick to the standard eight-hour schedule. (Your lack of respect for women who don’t work overtime is part of the problem here.) If you can’t see this, despite all the anecdotes you’ve heard so far, and are likely to keep on hearing, then you’re really not in a position to pretend you know anything about this subject.

    These women really are the centres of their own universes.

    The fact that you would ridicule and discount others for thinking their personal experiences are relevant, is not just hypocritical at a babyish level; it also proves you’re deliberately blinding yourself to information that contradicts your prejudices, and you therefore cannot be trusted.

  45. says

    I forgot to add the inordinate amount of times children must have witnessed their Mothers clobbering their Fathers, only to see the police called to the disturbance to whip the man off to the cells for questioning.

    You also forgot to add a citation for that overbroad generalization. As usual.

  46. says

    @ Raging Bee

    Not cowardice, I’m admitting my utter boredom with your reliably ridiculous comments. End of. Respond if you like, but I won’t waste any more of my limited time. There’s an election on 7 May which deserves my attention more than you do.

  47. says

    Then why do you spend any time here at all? It’s not like most of the regulars here (or even any at all) vote in your district.

  48. WhineyM. says

    Ok, Ally, so you’re dissatisfied because you reckon someone has miscalculated the figures thus giving the impression that the discrimination against men is worse than it is.
 That is as maybe (of course Collins has yet to reply.) However, I would contend, conversely, that you yourself in your writings have actually downplayed the severity of aspects of the discrimination against men in the criminal justice system, in face of some of the facts. Given that most people are unaware of this discrimination at all, and that the press have done such a good job in covering this up, it’s not totally clear, then, who is being the most irresponsible in this matter!

    For instance, let’s look at some of the claims in this piece, here:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/hetpat/2014/09/15/chris-grayling-can-ignore-prison-rape-hundreds-of-victims-have-no-such-luxury/

    
(Quotation from piece:-)

    “In 2007, Baroness Corston wrote her famous report into conditions for women prisoners. Since then, the extent to which her recommendations have been implemented remains questionable. Radical demands to significantly reduce the women’s prison population and close most women’s prisons altogether have been largely ignored.”

    (The article then goes on to describe the reforms as ‘modest’.)

    We now know, as documented here through the words of minister Helen Grant, that 40 out of 43 of Corston’s recommendations have been accepted and are being implemented:-

    http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/Justice/Women-offenders.pdf

    Now 40 out of 43 is surely not a bad ratio, by anyone’s standards.

    But most crucially, let’s take this idea from that “Radical demands to significantly reduce the women’s prison population […..] have been largely ignored.”

    Now is this actually true? No, it is plainly not true: the writing was already on the wall from the kind of things Ministers were saying at select committees at the time, and lo and behold, more recently, the Minister with the brief for this subject, Simon Hughes, has said that he wants to see the female prison population reduced by half:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31027549

    In case anyone is tempted to dismiss this as Liberal Democrat posturing which has no relevance to
government policy, I would draw their attention to this exchange between Julian Huppert and the Conservative front-bench minister for prisons during Justice Questions:

    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2015-02-03e.125.3

    The minister Selous refers to in that exchange is not Grayling, but Hughes himself! So there’s
the Tories response for you: they don’t raise any objection to this at all, they simply say, oh well that’s the responsibility of the Liberal Democrats.

    Finally, just to emphasise how stark sex discrimination in the justice system has really become, let’s take
a look at what Hughes has been given license to say, not in the press this time, but actually at the dispatch box. (Meaning in effect, that he has been sanctioned to do so by Grayling and in turn, Cameron):-

    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2014-12-16a.1256.3&m=40529

    “I am clear that the needs of women are entirely different from the needs of men in prison, not least because of their family responsibilities, and that is written through—as through a stick of rock—all that we are seeking to do in relation to women in custody”.

    “We are clear that women in prison need to have maximum time with their children, and that children need to be protected as much as possible from the adverse effects of having their mother away from them.”

    And …..

    “We have made sure that in each of the women’s prisons there will be the capacity for women to have spaces outside the walls on a gradual programme, so that they can be rehabilitated more quickly.”

    That last one is kind of significant is it not, because if women are going to be allowed out while serving 
their sentences (and women’s prisons are being turned into open or semi-open establishments, euphemistically dubbed ‘resettlement prisons’ )
 then sentencing might not be a reliable guide to how much they’re being kept behind bars, in any case!

  49. says

    We cover the issue of female sex offenders on pp31-37 of our election manifesto – direct link to the document here https://j4mb.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/141228-v6-general-election-manifesto.pdf. Followers of Ally Blog’s blog may recall his pieces on the NISVS surveys from the US. We calculate from the latest NISVS report that slightly over 25% of sex offences against people of the opposite sex are carried out by women. The criminal justice system takes very little interest in the matter, although it should for the sakes of both men and women. A study (Petrovitch & Templar) in 1984 of incarcerated rapists in a prison in the US showed that 59% of them had been abused when they were children, by women (sometimes their own mothers).

  50. Wistilia says

    “”””””””””””””All this may be (to a certain extent) true, but it is not the argument being made by William Collins.””””””””””””””””””””””

    Accepted.

    It does tho demonstrate the lengths the authorities and campaign groups will go, to keep women out of prison, simply because they are women and mothers.

    Men and fathers on the other hand are afforded little or no such alternatives, support or the blind eye approach which is taken (to some extent) for females in comparison.

    That offending males are not treated throughout the process to the same standards as women offenders.

  51. Archy says

    Side question, feel free to delete or redirect? to the appropriate open thread if there is one. – Have there been studies on fatherless homes (and even motherless homes) which studied the rate of violent crime vs 2 parent house-holds but has accounted for variance in socioeconomic levels?

    I guess the hypothesis of whether a lack of a father figure results in increased risk of crime for males would be interesting to study. I think it would have to take into account things like whether the parents had a loving or abusive relationship which could influence behaviour of the child, household finances and stresses, etc. I’ve seen people discuss fatherless households as an increased risk of crime but they also mentioned the households having less money so I wonder how much is due to the financial situation vs the lack of a second parent, especially the lack of the same gender parent. Kids are hard enough to raise on 2 incomes, and especially time and energy-wise with 2 parents, let alone one.

    Would also be interested in knowing if there is a difference in crime rate between kids raised in communities more with grandparents, and other adults in the same household vs the typical 2 parent or 1 parent family.

  52. groschen says

    Herbert Pundy #28:
    ” I don’t know about you but I haven’t seen bands of fanatical, angry women parading up and down outside our prisons demanding they be equally represented inside and be given their rightful and equal opportunity to do ‘stir’ like the fully liberated equal creatures they undoubtedly are these days?”

    I always find this argument amazingly tiresome. Why would women want to make sure more women became criminals? This is unfortunately not the first time I have encountered this idea, but it does not get less stupid just because it gets repeated. When we are talking about crimes, and the amount of prisoners of different genders, it would be a lot more fruitful to look at whether people who believes in equal rights (we could call these people feminists) finds it important to work to get research done that clarifies why there are more males than females in prison, and then promote ways that we can keep people from going to prison (look at many of Allys suggestions on alternatives to prison) and the direct these effort towards the male population. This would be equality.

    My view on whether this is happening is based on how it is in my country (Denmark), and here it is mostly the feminists that are working hard to get to the bottom of why males are overrepresented in prisons, how we can help bring down male suicide rates, taking a stance on equal maternity leave for both sexes etc. I would find it difficult to believe that the danish feminists work in their own little bubble that has nothing to do with the rest of the international feminist community; making me inclined to believe that contrary to what you are proposing, feminists do actually care deeply about the problems of overrepresentation of males in prisons.

  53. aj says

    I do not understand what point this blog post is trying to make. No one can calculate exactly what proportion of men are in jail more than women because of gender biases but we can make the best estimate possible based on the available information.
    None of the points made suggest this has not been done.
    1. Offending history
    As other posters have shown there is evidence that women are preferentially treated if they are a first time offender so this is just as likely to be a source of anti-male bias as not. More significantly the offending history itself is influenced by the biases in the system so it will reinforce whatever biases are already present. Yes this adds uncertainty to the analysis and it could account for some of the huge bias observed but it cannot account for more than a small amount of the bias because the overall bias is so large.
    2.different types of crime
    This point is nonsense the analysis does account for different types of crime to the extent possible using the breakdown into different categories.
    3. Same category of crime does not mean same type of offence.
    No but this is the only basis any analysis of the available data can be done. Some of the examples are just hyperbole. Theft and shop lifting are separate categories.

    Overall what does it mean? The anayis is very uncertain the specific factor of men spending 5 or 6 times longer in jail than women may be wrong but it is a reasonable estimate more importantly there is no doubt at all of a huge gender bias. The real factor may only be 3 (or 10) but that is much less important than the existence of a massive bias which is unremarked and unaddressed.

    This is what I don’t understand about the blog post. The analysis may not be perfect but the existence of a substantial gender bias is clear and admitted in the article. What difference does the exact number make except that criticising it deflects from the need to do something about it.

    Are men being treated to harshly or women too leniently? I lean towards the former but in either case it is a huge issue. Justice and respect for the justice system requires equality of treatment and whatever the unavoidable shortfalls in the analysis ally criticises it is clear there is a huge gender bias against men. This bias is all the more shocking for the fact that the only campaigninging on gender in the justice system is aimed at making the bias greater.

    Getting rid of gender biased guidelines and an Equality and human rights commission investigation would be a start.

  54. Darren Ball says

    Ally@19
    “It is only a “worsening problem” if you take a toddler’s ‘boo hoo snot fair…’approach to gender politics.”

    It’s a “worsening problem” because whilst we’re taking steps to reduce the numbers of female prisoners (good), we’re locking up increasing numbers of men (bad). When I looked recently, the UK lock up more men than any other country in Western Europe – both in absolute terms and per capita.

    “However in the big picture it is better that we have reform for some than reform for no one. No man is worse off as a result of a woman being treated more humanely in the justice system.”

    What we’re seeing here is largely the playing out of the Corston Report, which argues that prison is especially bad for women. I’m pretty sure I recall reading an op piece from you saying that the unavoidable corollary of this is that prison is not especially bad for men. Given that almost every paragraph of Corston’s report applies similarly to men, a report that argues the opposite – both directly and by omission – and which is informing policy, must be detrimental to male prison reform and therefore to many male prisoners.

    Corston doesn’t only focus on sentencing, but on prevention and rehabilitation (good), but again she has a female-only focus. The pathways to crime and the Criminal Justice System are the same for men and women, and they are also the same for other very unfortunate life outcomes, many of which are interrelated, such as: mental illness, substance abuse, vagrancy and suicide.
    Corston wants to marshal together all relevant Government departments into an integrated female-specific focus to keep about 2,200 women out of jail in any given year (about 1,800 really do need to be there). These are some of the areas where Corston wants an integrated female-specific focus within all communities: Physical and mental health (note we already have a national mental health strategy for women but not for men); drug and alcohol misuse; physical, sexual and emotional abuse; family support; housing; domestic violence; education and training; employment; finance; benefits and debt advice; programmes to address attitudes, thinking and behaviour; legal advice; counselling and therapy; improving self-esteem; isolation and poverty.

    In focusing all of these services on women, she not only draws focus away from the much larger number of vulnerable prisoners who are male, but also from the much larger number of men than women on other similarly disastrous pathways. Not only are men 95 per cent of prisoners, they are also 88 per cent of rough-sleepers, over 75 per cent of suicides, 80 per cent of those dependent on alcohol.

    I’m all in favour of a gendered approach to helping vulnerable people: men and women will have some different needs and may need/respond to different types of help. But Corston has not asked for a gendered approach for men and women, she has asked for an integrated female-specific focus across whole swathes of social care, including many areas where men are already especially disadvantaged; this she justifies because a relatively tiny number of women have fallen into one subset of vulnerability.

    Both the former Labour Government and the current bunch have agreed to adopt all 43 of Corston’s recommendations.

    Is it harmful to vulnerable men to put a special focus on vulnerable women? Well, if one takes the treatment of women as the norm, then men are being neglected, so yes. If a man would have received better treatment had he been a woman, then he has been harmed relatively. But also, to make a female-gendered focus on all of these issues sends the message that these are not male-gendered problems requiring a male-gendered approach, despite the fact that in most of these instances the precise opposite is true.

  55. Whiney says

    Cheers for letting my post @54 through Ally – thought it was gonna be stuck in pre-mod 4 ever!

  56. StillGjenganger says

    @Groschen 61

    When we are talking about crimes, and the amount of prisoners of different genders, it would be a lot more fruitful to look at whether people who believes in equal rights (we could call these people feminists) finds it important to work to get research done that clarifies why there are more males than females in prison, and then promote ways that we can keep people from going to prison (look at many of Allys suggestions on alternatives to prison) and the direct these effort towards the male population. This would be equality.

    I totally agree, and I am glad to hear that it works that way in Denmark. All I can say is that in the anglophone debate, the question ‘Hold on, many more men than women go to prison, how about that?‘ is not met with ‘We know, we are looking at that, and here is what we found out‘. Instead the answer is some combination of ‘We care about women and help women, we are feminists, geddit, if you want things done for men bloody well do it yourself! and ‘If all of you could learn not to be so violent you would not have this problem!

    Leve Danmark!

  57. 123454321 says

    Yes, Still G, nail hit fair and square right on the head. The fact that feminist power (which has been huge over the last few decades) has selfishly directed zero energy into helping the plight of ALL humans, rather than only those with a pussy-pass, will be the nail in the coffin of the tunnel vision, bigoted, feminist movement. Radical feminists who continue to this day to arrogantly refuse to acknowledge that their power could have been executed for the benefit of EVERYONE, remain blissfully unaware that they are nailing up their own coffins!

  58. StillGjenganger says

    @Groschen 61
    Herbert Pundy is one of many shrill and exaggerated people on my side. “God save me from my friends, my enemies I can handle!”

    But there is a legitimate point behind it. There is a clear disparity between the numbers of men and women who go to prison. The obvious explanation is that this is mainly because men commit more crimes – you would not put it down to gender discrimination without actual evidence. There is also an obvious disparity between the numbers of men and women who become board members and top managers. The obvious explanation (by now) is that this is mainly because men are more single-minded in their efforts and better at making the right choices – you would not put it down to gender discrimination without actual evidence. Yet that is exactly what the Norwegian state, the EU etc. do when they start mandating boardroom quotas.

    At which point some of us start questioning the feminist claim that they just ‘believe in equal rights’ and are not at all biased in favour of women.

  59. sonofrojblake says

    @AF, 45:

    now you’re just doing the performative fascism thing

    It’s not fascism to suggest that, if for a given offender prison doesn’t clearly doesn’t “work” as deterrent, reform or rehabilitation, then one should consider stopping using it for that and restrict its use to retribution and security. Which is to say – if you lock a man up for hitting people, then let him out, if he doesn’t stop hitting people you shouldn’t keep banging your head against that particular wall too many times before you give up and stop letting him out, if only for the sake of the people he hits.

    And you’ve conveniently allowed your boredom to let you ignore my point about children of prisoners learning to normalise prison and treat it as just another part of life, and this being my argument for removing children from all contact with jailed parents.

  60. mildlymagnificent says

    … it’s well known that children of single parent families without a supportive Father figure don’t do as well in terms of social behaviour or academic ability. Children need their Fathers just as much as their Mothers.

    I’ll back up Archy’s point here. The fact that a family might have only a mother as a single parent says absolutely nothing about the larger family environment nor the community the child is raised in. In our family we had one single mother (with an absent, useless father who contributed about $50 during the whole of the children’s lives).

    However, the kids had a grandfather, great-grandfather, and an uncle (my husband) who all took an interest, helped look after the kids and did various things with them. She was a member of a church where there were also valuable male role models even though their relationship with the kids was a bit more distant. And there were nice neighbours.

    Most split families have some sort of larger family or community support. It’s when those supports and links are absent or dysfunctional that problems arise for the children.

  61. StillGjenganger says

    @Mildly 70
    Can I offer a bit of amateur theorising?

    People and families are by and large pretty resilient. For a child doing well there are lots of supportive factors, generally. Lose one, or two, or three, and the remaining support can still cope fairly well. Even one good, supportive parenting figure can be enough to make up for a lot of stress. It is only when support starts running out and problems pile up to overwhelm your coping capacity that it really begins to go wrong.

  62. Adiabat says

    (disclaimer – not read the comments)

    Meanwhile my old sparring partner Mike Buchanan of Justice for Men and Boys has been doing the rounds, including on national TV show The Big Question

    I saw that show too (which is a bit of a coincidence because I don’t normally get the chance and it’s the only Big Question’s episode I’ve seen for about a year).

    I though Mike was doing okay, but badly let himself down with the statistics (as well as bringing up his ‘lying feminist of the week’ thing). It didn’t come across well, especially to a mainstream audience. (There was second stat he brought up which I thought was even less believable than the one Ally brings up in the OP – though I’m struggling to remember the details, (I remember my reaction to it more, which is how these things work I guess)).

    For starters he fell into the same trap as feminists when it comes to bringing up, frankly unbelievable, stats. This may sound weird but: even if the stats are true, bringing up stats which even appear to be false, or pushing a cause, will turn people away from your message. While these stats may have some emotive impact, a lot of people can see through stats such as “1-in-4” and “77 cents”. They know that they are being fed bull. Even as young kid, the constant obviously-bad stats we saw in the media from feminists put me off them (“How can I trust anything they say when they so readily lie with stats”). Mike risks having the same effect on people. People don’t like being lied to (or feeling like they are being lied to).

    It’s the same with slogans; people see through it. The woman from everyday sexism (missed the beginning when they were introducing everyone so don’t know her name), on the same show came across badly because of this. The whole ‘rape is always about power, not sex’ slogan, then a minute later agreeing that there may be many men who don’t even realise that they have committed rape… The contradiction stood out quite badly and made her look like an ideologue. It’s possible that there’s some nuance in her position that she couldn’t get across due to the format of the show, but from a ‘convincing people on a mainstream show’ perspective, the damage to her reputation and to her message is done.

    Then again (just to contradict everything I said above), an awful lot of people also seem to fall for this stuff: the ‘77 cents’ thing is a big recruiter for feminism, despite being obvious bull. Can I really fault Mike for using the same tactics that feminists have used to raise the profile of his cause? It’s not like many people, especially those in government and media, have responded well to reason and people rationally laying out their argument for the last few decades. The rise of the influence and power of the SJW is a testament to that.

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *