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Monday, June 16, 2014

Links - 16th June 2014

Carrie Fisher's Weight-Loss Journey on Jenny Craig - "Hoping to lose another 20 lbs., if not more, Fisher adds: "I like looking better. Before you had to like me for my mind. I'm hoping to give people options now.""

Law Graduate from the National University of Singapore who was on the dean’s list, Ms Ong Shi Han and her boyfriend, Jeremy Kuek Beng Kiat, stealing things - "A woman who was suffering from depression has been sentenced to 15 months’ probation for stealing drinks and rice from a condominium storage room... She committed the offence with her boyfriend, Jeremy Kuek Beng Kiat, also 23. Kuek, an aeronautical engineering student, was sentenced to a day’s jail and fined S$3,000 in May... After sentencing, Ong changed from a pink dress into a green top and black skirt and wore hair extensions to avoid being recognised."

Do You Receive a Lighter Prison Sentence Because You Are a Woman? An Economic Analysis of Federal Criminal Sentencing Guidelines - "The Federal criminal sentencing guidelines struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2005 required that males and females who commit the same crime and have the same prior criminal record be sentenced equally. Using data obtained from the United States Sentencing Commission's records, we examine whether there exists any gender-based bias in criminal sentencing decisions. We treat months in prison as a censored variable in order to account for the frequent outcome of no prison time. Additionally, we control for the self-selection of the defendant into guilty pleas through use of an endogenous switching regression model. A new decomposition methodology is employed. Our results indicate that women receive more lenient sentences even after controlling for circumstances such as the severity of the offense and past criminal history."

Men Sentenced To Longer Prison Terms Than Women For Same Crimes, Study Says - "A new study by Sonja Starr, an assistant law professor at the University of Michigan, found that men are given much higher sentences than women convicted of the same crimes in federal court. The study found that men receive sentences that are 63 percent higher, on average, than their female counterparts. Starr also found that females arrested for a crime are also significantly more likely to avoid charges and convictions entirely, and twice as likely to avoid incarceration if convicted. Other research has found evidence of the same gender gap, though Starr asserts that the disparity is actually larger than previously suspected because other studies haven't looked at the role of plea bargains and other pre-sentencing steps in the criminal justice system."
Feminist response: *crickets* then asking for most female criminals to be excused from prison time and manipulating statistics so it looks like the disparity is in the other direction
Comments: "I'm calling BS on this one. In a good majority of the crime stories I follow a man will get 7 years for directly committing a murder, yet his female accomplice waiting in the car gets 35, 40 and sometimes life without parole."
"I'm so absolutely sure that you are peddling snake oil that If you can name even one, single, solitary such story I will castrate myself. The disparity favoring women in the criminal justice system is the probably the single best established bias that exists in that system and has been demonstrated in countless studies going back a century."

The average prison sentence for men who kill their... - ""The average prison sentence for men who kill their intimate partners is 2 to 6 years. Women who kill their partners are sentenced, on average, to 15 years."

The Michigan Women’s Justice & Clemency Project
We’ve seen this particular claim made a number of times now. It’s the worst kind of claim because it’s technically true, yet utterly misleading. In short, it’s bad statistics (much like what happens with the wage gap) where it’s presumed that the actions being taken by each party are equal and that there aren’t gender differentials. As far as we can tell, the difference is that while both men and women do kill their partners, when they do it’s for notably different reasons and in notably different ways. When men kill their wives it’s normally what’s termed a “crime of passion” motivated by anger or rage. This normally leads to a charge of second-degree murder, because the crime lacks the premeditation element that characterizes first-degree murder. Women who kill their husbands, on the other hand, are more likely to exercise premeditation, which leads to the much more severe charge of first-degree murder. Even in cases where the charges don’t differ the circumstances often still do in a similar way, just to a lesser degree... Peacock was actually sentenced to 36 months himself, 18 of which were suspended. Of course, the page neglects to mention that part. Secondly, Hawkins was not sentenced to 36 months, but rather to 24 months, only six months longer than Peacock. It appears that “The Michigan Women’s Justice & Clemency Project” is not competent enough to do a basic Google search, with which they would have realized that the 36 month figure originated as an editorial error in the Baltimore Sun. They posted a retraction the next day."

UK Feminists: Let’s Keep Women out of Prison - "Lady Justice wears a blindfold to indicate that she cares not about a person’s race, sex or social class. Shockingly, British feminists are arguing in favor of removing that blindfold when it comes to a criminal’s sex. They’re arguing for changes that would offer women a greater chance of community-based rehabilitation rather than prison. It’s an idea that has been floating around in the femisphere for a while, and the flagship British project, which is funded by the government, is called Inspire... It’s worth noting that most of the case histories that are presented in order to bolster the feminist argument are the product of self reporting on the part of the offender. It’s a well known cliché that every criminal is an expert at manufacturing a believable sob story. Practically every man in prison would, given a chance, argue that he is a victim and that his case deserves sympathy. Women making this argument have the advantage that it’s difficult to walk down a city street without seeing a poster of a woman suffering an unfair plight, the product of a society that is very quick to see women as victims."

Judges ordered to show more mercy on women criminals when deciding sentences - "New guidelines declare that women suffer disadvantages and courts should ‘bear these matters in mind’... The latest guidelines have also caused anger, this time among campaigners for male victims of domestic violence. The Bench Book tells judges that the problem ‘consists mainly of violence by men against women’. It adds ‘the reality is that some of the most physically violent incidents are committed by men on female partners’. The document also suggests that aggression against men by women is rare, saying that ‘men and partners in same-sex relationships might also be victims of domestic violence’. However, campaigners for male victims of domestic violence claimed that men are being treated as second-class citizens by the new guidelines. They also point to analysis of official figures by the Parity campaign group which last week concluded that four out of ten victims of domestic violence were men. Mark Brooks, of the ManKind campaign group, said: ‘For a document that claims to be about gender equality, it clearly leaves the impression that male victims are seen as being second class when, of course, all should be seen the same... Updated guidance on how to sentence female criminals was distributed in April in a new section on ‘gender equality’"

Is Preferential Treatment of Female Offenders a Thing of the Past? A Multisite Study of Gender, Race, and Imprisonment - "Dramatic increases in the number of women incarcerated in state and federal prisons have led some researchers to conclude that differential sentencing of female offenders is a thing of the past. This study uses data on offenders convicted of felonies in Chicago, Miami, and Kansas City to address this issue. The authors find no evidence to support this “gender neutrality” hypothesis. In all three jurisdictions, women face significantly lower odds of incarceration than do men. The results also reveal that the effect of race is conditioned by gender but the effect of gender, with only one exception, is not conditioned by race; harsher treatment of racial minorities is confined to men but more lenient treatment of women is found for both racial minorities and Whites."

Why more and more women are losing custody battles over their children - "observers point out that while the tide may appear to be turning against working women, this shift in custodial arrangements can be seen as a direct consequence of women's fight for equality in the workplace. For years men who have fulfilled the traditional role of breadwinner have lost out when it comes to winning custody of their children - regardless of their income. Now women have asserted their right to enjoy similarly challenging careers, the question of whether they have the right to complain when they lose custody is a pertinent one. 'There's no gender discrimination in the courts,' says Elizabeth Hicks, partner and head of family law at solicitors Irwin Mitchell. 'The roles of men and women have changed dramatically in recent years. A couple may decide it's more beneficial for a woman to work and a man to stay at home with the children.' But there are consequences to this set-up. 'If that's how they have chosen to arrange their lives, why would it be fair that if they split up, the mother should get custody just because she is a woman?' says Ms Hicks... the truth, however unpalatable, is that equality goes both ways."

Gender Bias Study of the Court System in Massachusetts - "We began our investigation of child custody aware of a common perception that there is a bias in favor of women in these decisions. Our research contradicted this perception. Although mothers more frequently get primary physical custody of children following divorce, this practice does not reflect bias but rather the agreement of the parties and the fact that, in most families, mothers have been the primary caretakers of children. Fathers who actively seek custody obtain either primary or joint physical custody over 70% of the time. Reports indicate, however, that in some cases perceptions of gender bias may discourage fathers from seeking custody and stereotypes about fathers may sometimes affect case outcomes. In general, our evidence suggests that the courts hold higher standards for mothers than fathers in custody determinations."

Where the World's Unsold Cars Go To Die

The Effect of Women's Rights on Women's Welfare: Evidence from a Natural Experiment - "This paper explores whether the welfare of women increased following the extension of women's rights between 1960s and 1990s. Using individual level data on life satisfaction and focusing on changes in birth control rights in twelve European countries, it shows that the extension of both abortion rights and the pill is strongly linked to an increase in life satisfaction of women of childbearing age. Birth control rights also increased women's investment in education, probability of working and income. Other women's rights have proved less beneficial. Mutual consent divorce laws decreased women's welfare. High maternity protection on the job has negligible effects."
Women's rights: not always making women better off
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