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It’s a Crime: Women and Justice, Fourth Edition, is an all-inclusive work on women and issues of justice. The most complete, up-to-date text available, it compiles over 50 essays that explore issues such as: the history of women’s issues; women and the law; women and violence; women and health problems; gender and race, women and prison; women and criminal justice professions; women and terrorism; and girls and delinquency. Written by Rosalyn Muraskin and leading scholars in the field, this edition highlights over thirty new essays and presents a thought-provoking dialogue concerning the major tribulations women face in the criminal justice system.
PART I. VARIETIES OF FEMINIST THOUGHT AND THEIR APPLICATION TO CRIME AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE.
1. Varieties of Feminist Thought and Their Application to Crime and Criminal Justice.
PART II. HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF WOMEN'S ISSUES.
2. Remember the Ladies.
3. Taming Women and Nature: The Criminal Justice System and the Creation of Crime in Salem Village.
PART III. WOMEN, DRUGS, AND AIDS.
4. Women, AIDS, and the Criminal Justice System.
5. The Criminalization of Pregnancy: Drugs, Alcohol, and AIDS.
6. Babies Born with Drug Addiction: Background and Legal Responses.
7. Mothers and Children, Drugs and Crack: Reactions to Maternal Drug Dependency.
8. Pregnant Substance Abusers: The New Female Offender.
PART IV. WOMEN AND POLICING.
9. A Perspective on Women in Policing.
10. Discrimination and Harassment: Litigation by Women in Policing.
PART V. WOMEN AND PRISONS.
11. Women's Prisons: Issues and Controversies.
12. Disparate Treatment in Correctional Facilities.
13. Female Guards in Men's Prisons.
14. Women's Prisons: Overcrowded and Overused.
15. Tenuous Connections: The Significance of Telephone Communication between Prisoners and Their Wives.
PART VI. ABORTION: A RIGHT TO PRIVACY?
16. Whose Body Is It Anyway? Psychological Effects of Fetal- Protection Policies.
17. Abortion: Is It Abortion or Compulsory Childbearing?
PART VII. WOMEN: VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE.
18. The Issue is Rape.
19. Battered Women Who Kill Their Abusers: Their Courtroom Battles.
20. Arrest Policies for Domestic Violence and Their Implications for Battered Women.
21. Women: Victims of Sexual Assault and Violence.
22. Fear of Crime Among Elderly Urban Women.
PART VIII. THE FAMILY.
23. The Female Delinquent: Another Look at the Role of the Family.
Biographies of Editors.
Biographies of Contributors.
At the Seneca Falls Conference in 1848, women gathered together to declare that "we hold these truths to be self evident that all men and women emphasis mine are created equal." In the Declaration of Sentiments, Elizabeth Stanton pointed out that "the history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world." It went into specifics:
These were strong words. This was the status quo for women in the United States in 1848. In the words of Elizabeth Stanton: "Now in view of this entire disenfranchisement of one-half the people of this country, their social and religious degradation—in view of the unjust laws . . . and because women feel themselves aggrieved, oppressed, and fraudulently deprived of their most sacred rights, we insist that they have immediate admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of these United States." That was then. The movement produced few results. Women did not receive the right to vote until the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution early in the twentieth century.
In the words of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: "I think about how much we owe to the women who went before us—legions of women, some known but many unknown. I applaud the bravery and resilience of those who helped all of us—you and me—to be here today" (1998).
The potential for progress in the realm of women's issues and the criminal justice system is possible because of the continuous battles that women have continued to fight in striving for something called equality or parity of treatment. The history of women indicates that gender should not be a factor in determining the legal rights of women and men, but it has been. Dating back to 1776, when this country was being formed and the laws were being written by men, it was Abigail Adams, in a letter to her husband, John, who insisted that if in the new American Constitution, "care and attention are not paid to the ladies," they will foment a rebellion. Women have been fomenting that rebellion ever since. The reader will find that the struggle is not over, even though women may have a voice and are being heard.
In this work we talk about women as slaves; witchcraft; affirmative action; disparate treatment of women; sexual harassment; crimes of violence; rights of privacy; women, drugs, and AIDS; women in prison; women as victims of crime; women in criminal justice professions; women and crime; and girls and delinquency.
The chapters that follow are written primarily by scholars and researchers in the field. This third edition, as the previous two, deals with the most up to-date-issues and policies that pertain to women as they are affected and treated by the criminal justice system as well as those basic rights believed to be most fundamental by all. The material and topics provide the best there is as they concern the gender-based problems we face in society today.
In the words of the late Ted Alleman (with whom I worked on the first edition): "Those who see the world entirely from a man's perspective and are simply blind to the existence and influence of women are said to be androcentric in their thinking." Traditional literature ignores the role of women. There are those who will deprecate and/or ignore a woman's point of view entirely. For women, public denigration is not socially acceptable. Personal attacks should be a thing of the past.
Today, women and girls live the legacy of women's rights. It is my passionate hope that this work will result in more meaningful and thought-provoking dialogue concerning the important problems women face in the criminal justice system. It's a crime, if we do not realize the importance of the role that women play. Basic human rights are fundamental to all, women and men alike. The raw material is presented in this text—hopefully, you will make it come alive.
Long Island University