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Gender Inequality in the Legal System

Women Studies - Spring 2013

Alex Willi

on 2 May 2013

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Transcript of Gender Inequality in the Legal System

Women's Health Shackling of Pregnant Women Correctional facilities use restraints on women during pregnancy and birthing, "regardless of whether a woman has a history of violence . . . has ever absconded or attempted to escape."
The shackling of a female inmate is particularly dangerous during childbirth for both the mother and child
In the case of an emergency C-section, a delay of even 5 minutes could result in brain damage in the baby.
Postpartum restraints on women may also prevent them from breast-feeding and from walking, which is essential to recovery. Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood There is no national policy regulating what happens to children born to incarcerated mothers.
Although studies have shown that early mother-child bonding positively affects both the mother and the child, only 7 states offer prison nursery programs.
There is a popular parenting program offered at 27 men's prisons, but only 2 women's prisons in a state in the eastern United States. Gender Inequality in the Legal System Gender Inequality in the Courts Sentencing Women Behind Bars Inequality in the U.S. Prison System Women are more likely to suffer severe heath issues because of histories of sexual and physical abuse.
Lack of consistent healthcare often means that incarcerated women bring sexually transmitted diseases and chronic reproductive health conditions with them to prisons.
The rate of sexual assault on female prisoners by corrections officers has been estimated to be as high as 1 in 4 in some facilities. Statistics There are 2.3 million people imprisoned in the U.S. More than half of women currently in the criminal justice system, are imprisoned non-violent and victimless crimes. The abuse that women experience while in prison most often comes at the hands of guards and staff. In 1977 there were 11,212 women in prison. In 2007 there were 107,000. Women's prisons are often more geographically isolated, with less oversight. In 2009, 9% of the women in the prison population carried out pregnancies while serving time.
Many incarcerated women's pregnancies are classified as high risk.
A woman's right to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy technically mirrors any other citizen, however the bureaucratic channels to request an abortion grow more difficult to navigate every year. Prisons do not perform routine gynecological exams, do not always provide gynecological exams on admission and typically do not have on-site physicians trained in obstetrics and gynecology.
There is a high risk that women in prisons, have medical conditions that can result in sterility or death. Bibliography: Women are less likely to receive harsh sentences in general vs. men.
Judges are more lenient toward women in court because of family responsibilities
Women who are divorced/separated are more likely to receive harsh sentences Presumptive guideline system point totals determined by four main factors:
Prior record
Victim Injury
Legal Status
Considered factor in determining sentencing for men:
Seriousness of offense
Considered factors for woman:
Drugs/Alcohol Issues• Woman Judges Women Jurors Decision Making Chambers, Angelica N. "Impact of Forced Separation Policy on Incarcerated Postpartum Mothers." Policy, Politics, & Nursing Practice 10.3 (2009): 204-11. Sage Journals. Web.4 Apr. 2012. <http://ppn.sagepub.com/content/10/3/204.full.pdf+html>.
Clark, Jared C. "Inequality in Prison." American Psychological Association 9th ser. 40. October(2009): 55. American Psychological Association. Web. 10 Apr. 2
Lars Moller, et al. "Imprisonment And Women's Health: Concerns About Gender Sensitivity, Human Rights And Public Health." Bulletin Of The World Health Organization 89.9(2011): 689-694. Academic Search Premier. Web. 17 Apr. 2013.
Talvi, Silja J. A. Women behind Bars: The Crisis of Women in the U.S. Prison System. Emeryville, CA: Seal, 2007. Print.
Wack, Claire, and Roshni Patel, eds. "Correctional Facilities." The Georgetown Journal ofGender and Law 13.183 (2012): n. pag. LexisNexis Academic. Web. 10 Apr. 2013. <http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/lnacademic/?verb=sr&csi=268552&sr=TITLE(CRRECTIONAL+FACILITIES.)>.
Waldman, Ayelet, and Robin Levi. "A Battalion of Surviviors." Introduction. Inside This Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women's Prisons. San Francisco: McSweeney's, 2011. 15-23.Print. Voice of Witness. Opportunities, experience of women in law school, practice determines how many women are on the bench
In a 2009 study, 81% of female judges stated they faced sex discrimination
Male attorneys often did not take women judges seriously Sandra O’Connor: First woman appointed to the highest court (1981) Sonia Sotomayor: Third woman/first Hispanic appointed to highest court (2009) Women in male dominate professions may conform to attitudes, standards, etc. of dominate group and vice versa
Women are seen as more liberal compared to men
Difference of decision making are greater in criminal justice cases Stereotypes of woman jurors:
Woman who have mother/wife role characteristics do best when dealing with civil cases and cases involving children
Women have a “low status” compared to men jurors in deliberations, participated less and had less chance of holding a foreman position
A jury foreman is a jury member who acts as the chairman and spokesperson for the jury.
Women’s Liberation Movement in 1970’s fought for a number of issues including the right to participate on juries Studies in the 1970’s showed out of a total of 62 foreman’s only 30% were female and 70% were male
An effort have been made by the National Judicial Education Program in educating judges and justice system professionals about gender bias as a factor in civil, criminal, family and juvenile law, and provides methods to prevent it. By Alex Willi,
Carissa Ontiveros,
and Stephanie Oseguera Agenda Overview of the Legal System and Women in Law (Steph)
Gender Inequality in Court (Carissa)
Gender Inequality in the Prison System (Alex)
Q + A
Wrap-up Q + A: What sources of inequality do you see from specific Lorber feminisms?
What resolutions can you think of using the specific feminisms?
Any questions for us? Wrap-up Want more information or sources for battling inequality in the legal system and prisons? Here are some helpful resources: Visit the National Association of Women Lawyers online at http://www.nawl.org/
"In This Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women's Prisons" compiled and edited by Robin Levi and Ayelet Waldman
Visit sistersong.net (for providing advocacy training to support women's reproductive rights in prison)
Visit The Rebecca Project for Human Rights guide online for local organizing on the issue of the shackling of pregnant women in prison.
Visit generationfive.org to help promote nonviolent solutions to child sexual abuse and domestic violence. Common law
Judges enunciate law
Reliance on case law precedent (stare decisis)
One case can establish a legal principle The Legal System in the U.S. United States Supreme court
Composed of 9 Justices
President appoints candidate, senate confirms
Justices serve for lifeU.S. Federal
Court of Appeals (13)U.S. Federal District Courts (94) Judicial Law: Federal Each state has their own constitution and court system
State Supreme Court
State Court of Appeals
State District or Circuit Courts Judicial Law: State 47.45% of all law school applicants,
45.88% of all admitted students, (2012 LSAC data)
47% of all American law students only 37% of law school professors
32.4% of all lawyers
53.3% of all law clerks (46.9% of federal clerks and 56.1% of state clerks) Women in Law Women Behind Bars "2012 GUIDELINES MANUAL." 2012 Guidelines Manual. United States Sentencing Commission, n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2013. <http://www.ussc.gov/Guidelines/2012_Guidelines/Manual_HTML/Chapter_5.htm>.
Cannon, Amy. Examining the Role of Defendant Attractiveness on Juror Decisions for Crimes Relating to Stalking, Burglary and Murder (n.d.): 1-20. Print.
Crites, Laura L., and Winifred L. Hepperle. Women, The Courts, and Equality. Vol. 11. Newbury Park: Sage Publications, 1987. Print.
Hensley, C. "Attitudes Toward Homosexuality in a Male and Female Prison: An Exploratory Study." The Prison Journal 80.4 (2000): 434-41. Print.
"Jury Foreman Law & Legal Definition." Jury Foreman Law & Legal Definition. US Legal, Inc, n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.
"National Association of Women Judges :: 2012 United States State Court Women Judges." National Association of Women Judges :: 2012 United States State Court Women Judges. Forster-Long, LLC, n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.
"National Judicial Education Program." Legal Momentum:. Legal Momentum, n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.
Williams, M. R. "Gender and Sentencing: An Analysis of Indicators." Criminal Justice Policy Review 10.4 (1999): 471-90. Print.
Van, Wormer Katherine S., and Clemens Bartollas. Women and the Criminal Justice System. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2000. Print. Gender Inequality in the Courts "Catalyst Quick Take: Women in Law in the U.S.. ." . Catalyst, 11 Mar 2013. Web. 24 Apr 2013.<http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/women-law-us>.
Bisom-Rapp, Susan. "Scripting Reality in the Legal Workplace: Women Lawyers, Litigation Prevention Measures, and the Limits of Anti-Discrimination Law." Columbia Journal of Gender and the Law 6.1 (1996): 323-. ProQuest. Web. 24 Apr. 2013.
"National Association of Women Lawyers." . American Bar Center, 12 Apr 2013. Web. 24 Apr 2013.<http://www.nawl.org/>.
Schubert, Frank August. Introduction To Law And The Legal System. Wadsworth Pub Co, 2011. Print. Justice System Overview and Women in Law Outcomes At a Glance You will learn: Women in the Law How women's safety and health, along with their newborn children's, are put at risk in prison systems designed for male inmates. The circumstances in which men receive more harsh sentences v.s women and the roles women fulfill in U.s courts. Social Construction Feminism Standpoint Feminism The neglect of women's perspective and experiences in the production of knowledge Women Behind Bars Inequality in the Courts Women in Law Gendered structure of societies that treat woman and men as distinct and different
Gendered work organizations in favor of men's work and men workers How the American legal system works
The differences and struggles between women and men in law Liberal Feminism Women’s primary responsibility for child care and house hold maintenance
Division of paid work into women’s jobs and men’s jobs
Restricted entry into top positions (glass ceiling) Work-Life in Law At the top 50 best law firms for women, on average, women receive 14 paid weeks of maternity leave.
Men received just six weeks paternity leave, but on average, only took two weeks.
For paid adoption leave (for the primary caregiver), on average, individuals received 11 weeks, but on average, only took three weeks of leave.
The best law firms for women have made great strides in work-life policies. Women of Color in Law In the 2009-2010 class, people of color made up 22.4% of J.D. students.
Women of color are more likely than any other group to experience exclusion from other employees, racial and gender stereotyping.
Women of color are most likely to consider leaving the firm.
Women of color perceived a lack of commitment from senior leadership towards promotion of diverse candidates. Women of color were less likely to aspire to partnership.
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