Does Feminism
Discriminate Against Men?
A Debate

August
Ch. 7) Does the Criminal Justice System Discriminate Against Men?


Excerpts from Does Feminism Discriminate Against Men? A debate by Warren Farrell

Unequal Time For Equal Crime

Item. A man convicted of murder is 20 times more likely than a woman convicted of murder to receive the death penalty.[i] Although women are one of eight of those arrested for murder they are only one out of a hundred of those executed. [ii]

Item. Andrea Yates murdered her five children. She was found not guilty in 2006 by reason of insanity, and given treatment rather than punishment. [iii]

Item. Virginia, one of the leading states in executing males, last executed a female almost a century ago, in 1912.[iv]

Item. In North Carolina, a man who commits second-degree murder receives a sentence an average of 12.6 years longer than a woman who commits second-degree murder.[v]

Item. The US Department of Justice records the following sentence differences nationwide:

Number of Months To Which Females vs. Males
Were Sentenced For the Same Offense[
vi]
Offense
Female
Male
% ot added
Time Males
Serve
Sexual Assault
(Include Rape)
41
80
95%
Aggravated
Assault
25
38
52%
Burglary
23
37
61%
Larceny
15
21
40%

Item. Being male contributes more to a longer sentence than race or any other factor--legal or extra-legal.[vii]

Item. Prosecutors consistently note that women almost always receive lower bail for equal crimes.[viii]

In essence, there are two bails: the male bail and the female bail. Women are also more likely to be released on their own recognizance.

The Execution Club—A Male-Only Club

Item. At least thirty Americans have been executed and later found innocent. All 30 were men.[ix]

Item. 123 men (and zero women) have been consigned to Death Row and later freed after their convictions were proven unjustified.[x]

Approximately 1900 women commit homicide in the United States each year.[xi] When women commit homicide, almost 90% of their victims are men.[xii] Remember, though, that when women kill men it is often via a contract killing, but never gets recorded by the FBI as a woman killing a man, but as a “multiple offender killing.”[xiii]

For nearly four decades now, we have become increasingly protective of women and decreasingly protective of men--even if that man is a boy and a legal minor, as was 16-year-old Heath Wilkins. Adult Marjorie Filipiak and child Heath both pled guilty to being co-conspirators in a murder. Neither was a hardened criminal. Heath Wilkins got the death sentence; Marjorie Filipiak went free.[xiv] When Heath Wilkins was found to have been a victim of child sexual abuse, it did not deter the judge from giving him the death sentence.[xv] I know of no case in which a female minor who was a co-conspirator with an adult man in a murder, and found to have been a victim of child sexual abuse, was given so much as a long prison sentence.

Item. Any given man in prison is still 1000% as likely as any given woman to die via suicide, homicide, or execution.[xvi]

Although women's prisons are safer than men's prisons and designed more for rehabilitation, virtually all the recent press coverage has focused on the plight of the female prisoner--as if that plight were unique to the female prisoner. The result? States such as California are now financing the study of only female prisoner health issues.[xvii] Mothers in Lancaster, Massachusetts, have special facilities in which to see their children; fathers do not.[xviii] In New York's Bedford Hills Corrections Facility, mothers have a live-in nursery; fathers do not.

Women Who Kill Too Much and the Courts That Free Them: The "Female-Only" Defenses

Neither men nor women are exempt from killing loved ones. The difference is in what happens to them when they do. We have already seen the plea bargain defense, and “the contract killing defense.” Underlying these defenses is a deep-seated propensity: When women kill, judges and juries search for a reason, and the reason becomes her defense. Thus many of the more than 10 defenses I review in The Myth of Male Power imply a reason the woman’s crime led to her receiving either no sentence or a reduced sentence: the “Battered Woman Syndrome”; PMS; Post-partum depression; being a mother; children need their mothers; the “my child, my right to abuse it” defense; and the “Svengali defense.”

No man has successfully used any of these defenses in similar circumstances. Nor do men have any equivalent "male-only" defenses. Each of these defenses therefore violates the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection to both sexes under the law. This double standard of self-defense will be wreaking havoc in the legal system for decades...

Sources:

[i]US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (hereinafter USBJS), Profile of Felons convicted in State Courts, January, 1990, publication #NCJ-120021 by Patrick A. Largan, PhD, and John M. Dawson (BJS statisticians), p. 9.

[ii] Victor L. Streib, “America’s Aversion to Executing Women,” Ohio Northern University Women’s Law Journal, volume 1, pages 1-8 (1997); Victor L. Streib, “Death Penalty for Female Offenders, January 1, 1973 through December 31, 2005.” Ohio Northern University. www.law.onu.edu/faculty/streib/documents/FemDeathDec2005_000.pdf. Accessed July 31, 2006.

[iii] Angela K. Brown, “Jury finds Yates not guilty in drownings,” Yahoo! News, July 26, 2006. www.forbes.com/technology/ebusiness/feeds/ap/2006/07/27/ap2908294.html.Accessed September 11, 2006.

[iv] Victor L. Streib, “Death Penalty for Female Offenders, January 1, 1973 through December 31, 2005.” Ohio Northern University. www.law.onu.edu/faculty/streib/documents/FemDeathDec2005_000.pdf. Accessed July 31, 2006.

[v]Matthew Zingraff and Randall Thompson, "Differential Sentencing of Women and Men in the USA," International Journal of the Sociology of Law, 1984, Number 12, p. 401-413.

[vi]USBJS, State Court Sentencing of Convicted Felons, 2002—Statistical Tables, May 2005, publication #NCJ-208910, Table 2.6 "Mean length of felony State court sentences imposed, by offense and gender of felons, 2002." www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/scscf02.pdf. Downloaded August 1, 2006.

[vii]For the smaller impact of racial differences, see USBJS, Profile of Felons convicted in State Courts, January, 1990, publication #NCJ-120021 by Patrick A. Largan, PhD, and John M. Dawson (BJS statisticians), p. 1, column 2. For the smaller impact of other differences, see Matthew Zingraff and Randall Thompson, "Differential Sentencing of Women and Men in the USA," International Journal of the Sociology of Law, 1984, Number 12,.

[viii]See Howie Kurtz, "Courts Easier on Women," The Sunday Record (Bergen County, NJ), October 5, 1975.

[ix] The first 23 are documented in Hugo Adam Bedau and Michael L. Radelet, "Miscarriages of Justice in Potentially-Capital Cases," Stanford Law Review, Vol. 40, No. 1, November, 1987, p. 21-179; the additional seven are in Death Penalty Information Center. “Executed But Possibly Innocent.” www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?scid=6&did=111. Downloaded August 8, 2006.

[x] Innocence Project. “Innocence: List of Those Freed From Death Row.” www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?scid=6&did=110. Downloaded August 1, 2006.

[xi]USBJS, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 1991, p. 442, Table 4.7.

[xii]John T. Kirkpatrick and John A. Humphrey, "Stress in the Lives of Female Criminal Homicide Offenders in North Carolina," Human Stress: Current Selected Research, Vol. 3, ed. James H. Humphrey (NY: AMS Press, 1989), p. 109-120.

[xiii] US Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Crime in the United States --2017 (Washington, DC: USGPO, October 2004), table 2.7 titled “Murder Victim/Offender Relationship by Race and Sex.” www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius_03/xl/03tbl2-7.xls. Downloaded July 31, 2006. The notes adjoining the tables state that the table only applies to“Single Victim/Single Offender” killings, i.e., multiple offender killings are not broken down into gender categories. Only “Single Victim & Single Offender” crimes are broken down into gender categories. not rep

[xiv]Ron Rosenbaum, "Too Young To Die?" The New York Times Magazine, March 12, 1989.

[xv]Ron Rosenbaum, "Too Young To Die?" The New York Times Magazine, March 12, 1989.

[xvi] Suicide, execution, and homicide data for 1987 is from USBJS, Correctional Populations in the United States, publication #NCJ-118762, December, 1989, p. 105, Table 5.17. Prison statistics for 1987 are from the US Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstracts of the United States: 1991, 111th edition, p. 195, Table 338.

[xvii]Statutes of 1991, Chapter 692.

[xviii]Fred Strasser and Mary C. Hickey, "Running Out of Room For Women In Prison," Updates section, Governing, October, 1989, p. 70.

© 2010, Warren Farrell (with Steven Svoboda) vs. James P. Sterba

*    *    *

Man is not the enemy here, but the fellow victim. - Betty Friedan

Warren Farrell, Ph.D., is the author of numerous international best-sellers on men and women, including Why Men Are The Way They Are and The Myth of Male Power. Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection and Father and Child Reunion has led to Dr. Farrell doing expert witness work that has encouraged many judges to keep dads in children’s lives. Dr. Farrell’s released Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap and What Women Can Do About It in 2005 and Does Feminism Discriminate Against Men? A debate in 2008.

Warren is the only man in the US ever elected three times to the Board of Directors of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in New York City. He has been chosen by The Financial Times as one of the world’s top 100 thought leaders, is in Who’s Who in America and in Who’s Who in the World. He has taught in five disciplines, most recently at the School of Medicine at the University of California in San Diego, and is ranked by the International Biographic Centre of London as one of the world’s top 2000 scholars of the Twentieth Century. He has appeared on over 1,000 TV shows worldwide and lives in Mill Valley, California with his wife and two daughters.You can visit him at www.warrenfarrell.com or E-Mail



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