The leniency of sentences faced by women, when convicted of the same crimes as men, is a scandal. Yet there are relentless calls for the differential to be increased, not decreased. On the BBC this morning:
In 2007 the Corston report – authored by Labour peer Baroness Corston – recommended jailing only the most serious or violent female offenders. Interviewed this week on BBC radio, she said current policy was ‘perfectly tailored for men’ because there were 80,000 men behind bars – but women were ignored because there were only 4,000 in comparison. ‘The overwhelming majority of them should not be there because they are troubled not troublesome,’ she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. She also said the damage to women and their children was ‘incalculable’.
‘Troubled not troublesome’. It’s the same old story. When men commit crimes it’s because they’re bad, and have to be punished. When women commit crimes it’s due to mental health issues, so their sentences must be lenient, ideally non-custodial. And you have to ask, do women forget they’re responsible for children when they commit crimes? Or do they know that if and when they’re convicted of a crime they can play not only the ‘women card’ but also the ‘child card’, and receive a lenient sentence? Surely the latter is more credible.