Criminal Justice System- Institutionally Sexist

The criminal justice system is condemned as an institutionally sexist operation that lets down female victims, fails to help women offenders out of a cycle of crime and prevents professionals reaching the top jobs. A five-year investigation by the Fawcett Society, which campaigns for gender equality, found that discrimination against women pervades the system in England and Wales at all levels, from the police forces where women officers are still forced to wear men’s uniforms to the way frontline staff doubt the credibility of victims reporting rape and domestic violence, with a gap seen between equality policy and its implementation.

Self-harm among women in custody, which Fawcett said was a product of the effects of being in a system designed for men, increased by 48% between 2003 and 2007, with women committing around half of all self-harm incidents, despite representing only 5% of the total prison population. At the women-only HMP Styal the number of incidents of self-harm have risen from 376 to 1,324 in the last five years, according to figures obtained by the Howard League for Penal Reform.

Last night justice minister Maria Eagle said: “While we recognise the challenges we face we reject the central tenet of this report. … We have long recognised the specific needs of women in the criminal justice system… But there is still more to be done and the government equality bill contains positive action measures.”

Shock horror, New Labour acts like conservatives. Anyway Fawcett Society report here

Key Statistics:

Female staff

• In 2008, only 12 percent of police officers at Chief Inspector grade and above were women; less than a quarter of prison governors were female and less than one in four prison officers were women. (4)

• Only 15.9 percent of partners in the UK’s ten largest law firms were women in 2008 and there were only 42 female compared to 479 male silks. The number of female applicants for Queen’s Counsel was at its lowest level for ten years. (5)

• In 2008, just over 10 percent of the 109 High Court Judges were women and just 3 out of the 37 Lord Justices of Appeal were women. There is only one female law lord. (6) In contrast, the Supreme Court of Canada is 44 percent female and the High Court of Australia is 43 percent female.

Female victims of crime

• An estimated 3 million women across the UK experience rape and sexual assault, domestic violence, sexual harassment, forced marriage, trafficking, or other forms of violence each year.

• Only 15 percent of serious sexual offences against adults are reported to the police and of the rape offences that are reported only 6.5 percent result in conviction. 

• One in four people still believe that a woman is partially responsible for being raped if she is drunk and one in three think she is partially responsible if she flirted heavily with the man beforehand. (7)

• Over a quarter of local authorities across Britain have no specialised VAW support services. (8)

Female Offenders:

• On 3 April 2009, the female prison population stood at 4,309 compared to a mid-year female prison population of 2,672 in 1997. Population projections released by the Ministry of Justice in January, indicate at best the female prison population may decrease by 200 by 2015, at worst it will increase to 5,100. (9)

• Too many women are being imprisoned for short sentences for non-violent crime, including the non-payment of fines and television licences. In 2007, 63.3 percent of women were sentenced to sentences of six months or less.

• Imprisoning mothers affects children too – almost 18,000 children are separated from their mothers each year. Between April 2005 and July 2008, 283 children were born to women in prison.

• Prison does not address the causes of women’s offending. More than one in three have histories of sexual abuse and over half have been the victims of domestic abuse. 

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It’s The Imperialism Stupid

Why Banks Shouldn’t Run Countries

Excerpt from Ann Pettifor’s Debtonation via Richard Murphy,

  • Prominent neo-liberal economists, including Fred Mishkin, a high-profile advocate of ‘inflation targeting’ and Bush nominee to the Federal Reserve, (until he unexpectedly resigned in May, 2008) and Tryggvi Þór Herbertsson, were paid, I have been reliably informed, considerable sums by the Icelandic Chamber of Commerce to produce a report on Financial Stability in Iceland in September, 2006. The purpose of this report was to keep the banking party going after the near-disastrous ‘mini crisis’ of March, 2006. The report was the centrepiece of a ‘road show’ promoting Iceland as a haven of financial stability that autumn. (See this speech made in New York by Mrs. Valgerður Sverrisdóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland at the time, and a proud farmer.)
  • We know that Fred Mishkin (now of Columbia University) was not the only academic economist to act as cheerleader for Iceland’s reckless bankers. Prof. Richard Portes, President of Britain’s Royal Economic Society, played a similar role. (For more about Professor Portes’s role in the Icelandic saga, go here.)
  • A year after the Mishkin Report, in November, 2007, Prof. Portes produced another report for the Icelandic Chamber of Commerce which concluded that Iceland’s banks were ‘successful and resilient’ and that ‘the banks have been highly entrepreneurial without taking unsupportable risks; good supervision and regulation have contributed to that, using EU legislation.”
  • The privatisation of Iceland’s banks began as late as 1998, and was not complete until 2002. See the excellent chart below, courtesy of Stefán Ólafsoon of the University of Iceland. The banks lost no time in piling up debts.
  • By 2008 – when Prof. Portes wrote his report – private bank liabilities made up 10 – 12 x Iceland’s GDP, according to a reliable source.
  • And of course we all know what happened then, Iceland had no crisis, the government stayed in power, beloved by all its people and everyone lived happily ever after! Well that’s what a neoliberal academic told me anyways (after I paid them a good fee naturally)…