Learning Objectives

  • An insight into the nature and extent of female offending.
  • An analysis of the current trend to ‘search for equivalence’ in criminality between women and men.
  • An overview of the arrival of the ‘new female offender’ in the form of the ‘mean girl’, the female sex offender and the female terrorist.
  • The impact of the ‘mean girl’ discourse on the punishment of girls and women.
  • An exploration of women in prison and the concept of vulnerability.
  • An analysis of what human rights can do for women in prison with a focus on the three main issues that face the female prisoner: the over-representation of women in suicide and self-harm statistics; contact with children and families; and the experience of girls in prison. In doing so we consider in more detail the relevance of human rights legislation.