UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The administration of justice in the greater Vancouver area : the female offender Sien, Mabel Aileen


There has been a great deal of concern regarding the extent of criminal behaviour and the effect of criminal behaviour on the criminal and on society generally. There is the general assumption that there are many differences between the female offender and the male offender. At the same time the law and the administration of justice are said to apply equally to both sexes. The dilemma Is partially resolved by an individual approach pursued by the personnel of the various institutions involved—the police officers, the magistrates or judges, the prosecutor, the probation officer, the prison matrons, the parole supervisor and all the people who come in contact with the woman from the time of arrest until the time of release. Many problems remain unsolved. The account of the process confronting the female offender is presented as objectively as possible based on information obtained mainly from interviews with representatives from the various institutions with whom the offender comes in contact; and, also from their records, from annual reports, brochures, Municipal by-laws, Federal and Provincial Statutes and the Criminal Code of Canada. It is an official account as compared to an unofficial account obtained from interviews with the women who are charged with various criminal offences. Statistics, while approximate figures, provide an estimate of the number of women charged with criminal offences and the types of crime in which they are frequently involved. The offences are by law indictable or summary offences, or can be either. Arrests can be made by certain persons under specified conditions. Bail may be granted or refused. The person who has been arrested may be locked in the City Gaol. There are various sentences permitted by law to be administered by the courts. The female offender may receive a suspended sentence. She may be placed on probation. She may be sent to prison at Oakalla or Kingston Penitentiary. Parole may be granted or refused. She obtains a criminal record. A combined individual-group approach to treatment might be more beneficial and have more lasting results than a primarily Individual approach or primarily a group approach. Successful rehabilitation may depend more on a well-informed public than on a sympathetic public made up of people who are willing to "take a chance" on hiring her or renting a room to her. An integrated team applying the problem-solving approach might result in a lower recidivist rate if any or all of the members of the team were made available to the offender when she first becomes arrested and is charged with a criminal offence. The distance must be lessened between the cultural expectations of the individual and the individual's ability to meet those expectations in socially acceptable ways.

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