Frances Heidensohn

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Women and Crime is written by Frances Heidensohn. The book was published by Macmillan Press LTD and it is the second edition. The main themes in the book are about how women are treated when they commit crime. The book looks at what crimes women commit and how they feel. It studies how the criminal justice and the penal system treat women offenders.

It also analyses the deviant image of women and their experiences. The book examines social theories and traditional criminology. As well as exploring modern theories and feminist criminology.

The criminal justice chapter tells us that very few women commit crime and there are small numbers who go to prison. Women commit petty crime such as shoplifting and do not really get caught, if they do it is a small number. This is because the role of a woman in society today does not come under committing crime so people pay less attention to women then men when crime is involved.

The chapter about images of deviant women is very interesting, this is because it does not look at petty crime which, the reader would expect it to. Instead looks at more serious crime that are committed by women.

Heidensohn Double Deviance

It looks at crime such as murder like Lizzie Borden who was tried and acquitted of hacking to death her father and her step mother in 1893.

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Also Mary Ann Cotton convicted of murdering her step son in March 1873. Also moors murders, Myra Hindley who gained a lot publicity from the media because she was a woman who committed murders of young children. This is not expected of a woman because women are protectors of young children. So for example a mother who should look after young children and tell them what is right and wrong and guides them through out life. Not someone who should take life.

Feminist criminology says that women crimes were invisible because there was such a small number. Women are also placed in a big stereotype of being in the home and bring up the children. The book also mentions moral panics about women crimes, a good example of this is witchcraft that was amplified because it was women who were doing it and in our society that is not the acceptable role of women. When looking at women’s crime prostitution is a big category because it is not morally accepted in society so it is wrong even though people do not look at the economical side of prostitution for most women.

In general most women are convicted for prostitution. Another aspect of the book is that of social control and the structure of society. Women’s role in society, which has already been mentioned, is to look after the children and take care of the home. There has always been restriction on women because of men making the rules. If children are deviant the mothers always get the blame. Also women carry a double burden of two roles and they gain very little or no help form their husbands or partners. For children women play a significant part in social order in society.

The book examines all the stereotypes about women, which are made by society that we live in with regard to crime. The book is everything you need to know about women and crime. It tells you every thing about the law to women experiences. The second chapter of the book is very interesting and has used research of other people very well. It also has extracts from letters about women’s experiences that makes it interesting to read, so it uses real life examples. The book also had subheadings within chapters so it is easy to refer to a particular part of the book.

The book is for academic readers and not for general reading so it is perfect for a student who is studying women and crime. The layout of the book is excellent because it is easy to refer to some thing like a quote in the book. The book has quotes from other people works and it explains them very well and you know which criminologist said what and what they meant by it. The language of the book is a bit complex and boring. . The language is appropriate to the audience. It uses Standard English so that everyone can understand it.

The reader has to read some part of the book again in order to understand it. So it is a heavy book to understand overall. The book has 11 chapters and it has a look of evidence and quotes from other sociologist and criminologist which the author refers to when making a point about women and crime. A disadvantage of the book is that there is too much information in each chapter and it is hard to understand everything that is written. The text size is ’12’ this is what most people use and is comfortable with.

If the writing was bigger then people may think it does not cover the relevant points or if the writing was too small it may put some people off from reading it because it would not be user friendly. However the way the book is set out it is user friendly. The author’s extract and quotes are very useful because they demonstrate the points that are made which, also keep you interested in reading it. The text of the book flows well and makes sense. So it is in a logical order. The author look at prostitution a lot and serious crime it does not have much about petty crime which most women are convicted for.

This is another disadvantage. The book also is well set out and you know who said what and where the quotes have came from. It also use statistic to illustrate point which are being made and it make it easy to compare men and women in crime they commit. The book also looks at the history of women and crime and how things have changed which makes it easier for the reader to understand what has changed and what is the same. However the book does not compare women’s and men’s crime so you can not really see how the two genders are treated for the same crimes.

Although the book does mention women as victims of crimes but need to go in to depth more. The book does meet it aims which are set so it fulfils the purpose of the book. The book has two additions, the first edition has 10 chapters in it and the second edition has 11. This is because the book has been updated. The second edition also women as victims and what have changed and what has not. The first edition does not look at women as victims so again this is another advantage for the second edition.

The book Women and Crime does not actually bring anything new about women committing crime because we already know that women commit less offence then men and most of the offence committed by women are invisible because there is such a small number. However the book does state that a lot more research needs to be done in this area, which is said by feminist criminology. Although the book does consolidate all the information we already know, so it is easier to access, which is helpful. The author does achieve it aims because it tells you all the information about women and crime and the book is good for students studying women and crime.

The book is very detailed and there is a lot of information with evidence about women and crime. It is also very slow. At the beginning of the book there are a list of aims which the book meet through out. Each aim that is made in the introduction has been give a lot of detail about it and is usually give a whole chapter on it. In the conclusion the author again tells us what the aims were and how they were meet. The conclusion in the book is well written and summarises what was in the book. So the conclusion is very convincing about the themes which are in the text.

The author also hits its target audience which are student and academics who are studying women and crime and has all the relevant information in one book which is very useful to student because it save them time find information from other books. Most students like to use only one book so it is a perfect student text to have. Also the book points out that there is no book called men and crime because all the book about crime have a lot of information about men committing crime and do not really mention women and crime.

The book also raises a lot of question that most people would not ask and answers them well. So in conclusion the book overall is a very good student hand book for anyone studying women and crime. It has all the information and more. It contains all the evidence that you need to look for and the work of other criminologist. However the book is a heavy read and you need to concentrate when reading it. So you may need to read it again in order to gain all the information that you need.

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Frances Heidensohn. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

Frances Heidensohn
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