Scholars in the area of criminology should continue to think of gender not as just another variable but a matter worthy of specific focus and theorizing, especially with regard to female offending. More needs to be discovered not only about how women’s unique pathways affect offending but also how this knowledge can be used to better the lives of the increasing numbers of girls and women who find themselves in the criminal justice system. In particular, much more work needs to be accomplished to help us understand how women’s pathways to offending might best be addressed so that their levels of offending, recidivism or reoffending, and rates of incarceration can be reduced.
Research into effective treatment and supervision for female offenders should be expanded. Best practices are currently the standard in policy-based applications in this field yet, in the 21st century, the majority of standards- or evidence-based policy is still based on research conducted largely with only males or male offenders. The relevance of gender in the criminal justice system cannot be overstated; it warrants greater attention to and movement away from the historical invisibility often afforded the female offender and toward more gender-informed policies and practices.
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