Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Criminology

Sociological Analysis of Lower Class Women's Crime and Imprisonment Impact on Women

Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Criminology

Sociological Analysis of Lower Class Women's Crime and Imprisonment Impact on Women

Article excerpt


Poverty is the main root cause of all crimes which has become social evil for the whole world, especially for the under developed countries. In Pakistani society, poverty pushes the individual to adopt those means that are not only detrimental for their lives but also for the whole community. Fernald (1920) found that influences which are related to female delinquency include poor economic background, lack of education or training and inferior mentality. Sometimes environment shape their attitude as rebellion.Poverty influences the vulnerable fraction of the society to commit crime for unfulfilled basic needs, hopelessness, low living standard and inequality of resources.

In Pakistan, female literacy ratio is very low as compared to male. Since illiteracy has roots in poverty, most of the women in prison are either illiterate or belong to poor families. Patriarchal power relations shape gender differences in crime, pushing women into crime through victimization, role entrapment, economic marginality and survival needs (Schwartz, 2008). Due to patriarchal structure Pakistani women are less empowered in terms of mobility and they are highly dependent on their males (Kilday, 2007).The lower class women don't have access to conventional means that lead to achieve their goals. Therefore, women commit crime for betterment of their lives and the lives of their families but later on imprisonment put harsh and detrimental effects on prisoners and their family (Quaker Council for European Affairs, 2007).

Imprisonment has different impacts on women as compared to men. In prison, women experience problems with accommodation, inappropriate staffing, lack of family contact, lack of education and lack of proper healthcare. High proportion of women prisoners were with a history of mental physical or sexual abuse (Townhead, 2006).Inadequate health-care services and lack of safety from abuse can worsen these problems. The effect of imprisonment on the physical health of women is often a direct result of the poor conditions of jail including overcrowded environment, poor sanitary facilities, lack of physical and mental activities and lack of appropriate health care. One of the primary barriers to addressing various health problems is the inability to access health-care services upon their re-entry into society, either through denial of access or inability to afford health-care insurance (Johnson,2009).In Pakistani jails, there are rareeducational and vocational programs for technical training of women to keep them mentally busy. Those that are available are less varied and of poorer quality (U.N report, 2013). Women in prison are affected by imprisonment in a particularly harsh way. The human rights and basic dignity of women in prison are systematically violated (Sundaram, 2002).


* To determine the factors which motivate women to commit crime

* To find the reasons of high rate of crime in lower class

* To find the impacts of imprisonment on women

Research questions:

* Why lower class women mostly involve in criminal activities?

* What circumstances they face in jail after committing crime?


* Higher the poverty rate more will be the criminal activities in the society

* Lengthen the time span of imprisonment greater the chance of poor mental health of women.

Theoretical Framework

Mathieu (2003)enclosed Merton's theory of strain in which he states that "social structure and society were equally responsible for crime causation". His emphasis on cultural goals at the expense of institutions means creates a tendency towards anomie. Merton (1949) stated that "women are prone to commit crime when they are failed to attain culturally defined goals through institutional mean". It depicts that crime relates to the goals and means provided by the society. According to Merton (1957)here is an imbalance between the goals and the means when society doesn't provide the means to everyone to accomplish the goals it sets out for them. …

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