All posts by aritter16

Gender Crime and Justice Blog 10

This week I looked at the article titled, “Life Changing: The Experience of Rape-Crisis Work,” which researched the experiences social workers have when working with clients who are victims of sexual violence. The feminist movement is a main reason why rape crisis centers exist today. It produced a wide range of organizations that emerged in response to the growing awareness of women’s concerns, including rape, domestic violence and women’s health care. According to research, rape-crisis programs are considered a part of feminist organizations because they came about during the second wave of feminism. The history of women’s crisis programs began in the 1970’s when they were first created.  There mission was to challenge social attitudes and beliefs that contribute to sexual violence. There core functions are crisis intervention, short-term counseling, and community education.

The goal of this research was to see how the workers were affected by working with these clients day to day. Research explains how it can be very “jarring for a researcher to hear a rape survivor’s story and realize that, given different circumstances, you could be on the other side of the interview.” This rings true as rape is so prevalent today. Statistics shows that one in four to one in five women are raped in their adult lifetimes. Many of the researchers experiences hearing rape mirrored the victims experiences. The experienced fear, pain, anger, hope, and the loss of freedom, of a feeling of the basic goodness of society, of one’s identity, and of one’s well-being. Vicarious traumatization, is a new term that describes the transformative effect upon the trauma of working with survivors of traumatic life events. According to research, “one’s view of the world can change as a result of the work.” This is especially true with female trauma therapists as they experience lasting changes in their perceptions of overall safety.

The purpose of the research study was to gain an understanding of the experiences of women who work in rape-crisis programs. There were a core set of questions that basically asked how the experience affected their personal lives as well as there feelings about sexual violence, and how the workers changed through the process of their jobs. The workers of the study were all female employees of the rape-crisis programs who had master’s degrees in social work and other related fields. The researcher defined rape-crisis programs in saying that they are feminist social service organizations that prove one or all of the following services: crisis intervention in emergency rooms of hospitals with victims of sexual assault; short-term therapy with survivors of rape, incest, or sexual assault; long-term therapy with survivors of rape, incest, or sexual assault; long-term therapy with survivors of rape, incest, or sexual assault; and group therapy for survivors of rape, incest, or sexual assault.

The data was collected through semistructured, open-ended qualitative interviews that were conducted by a researcher with personal experience in the rape-crisis field. The interviews lasted 90 minutes and feminist standpoint and grounded theories were the guiding frameworks for the study’s research design and data analysis. The participants were 21 female employees of 8 rape-crisis centers in an urban area. There ages ranged from 26 to 58 with the mean age being 36. The majority 86% were white and 2 others were African American and Latino. 91% of the women stated they were heterosexual and more than two thirds were married or living with partners, while 8 were mothers. The results indicated that the participants were personally changed and influenced by their work. The research categorized the ways they were changed in influenced by listing 3 primary levels, individual, personal relationships, and view of the world. Changes in behavior were a part of individual changes where worker’s expressed their fears of being outside at night as well as fear when taking cabs and the subway. For personal relationships, the mothers of the research said that their normal parental worries intensified. There views of the world were now a constant distrust. There visions of the world as a safe place changed.

In conclusion, this research showed that these social workers duties at the rape-crisis centers were more than just a job. It was a part of their life that they took home with them day and night. I think that being a social worker is a very intimate and personal type of job that needs adjusting to no matter what. I think it is interesting to see that even with master’s degrees, one can still have trouble adjusting to their job and that no textbook knowledge can make you ready for real life experiences such as these.

Adolescents and Society Blog #2

For my second blog I read the introduction and first chapter of the book “Gender and Globalization: Super Girls, Gangstas, Freeters, and Xenomaniacs: Gender and Modernity in Global Youth Cultures.”  The intro begins by talking about the Mozambian way of life with mobile phone technology. The author describes how mobile phone etiquette as an “idiom” is a way that many Mozambians express their understanding of gender relations in society today. The author explains, “I argue that while reproducing gendered ideals, mobile phone etiquette acts as a new register to express and address the reconfiguration of gender relations and the redrawing of ideas of masculinity, already under way” (p. 25).  This description of new technology and mobile phone etiquette  resembles the way our generation uses phones in american society today.

Continue reading Adolescents and Society Blog #2

Urban Sociology 327 Week 16

The urban population is expected to exceed the annual growth rate of the world population by 2030. Within the past three decades, the number of those living in urban areas has doubled. Gottdiener, Hutchison, and Ryan noted, “The are overwhelming, and not simply because it is difficult to think of 1 million people at anything more than a conceptual level, much less 1 billion people” (p. 275). In 1950 there were just two metropolitan areas with a population of 8 million or more persons- New York and London-reflecting the concentration effects of urban growth under industrial capitalism in the developed nations. By 1970, there were nine metropolitan areas with more than 8 million persons, including four in the developed nations and five in the developing nations. Population estimates by the United Nations for 2030 show further overwhelming growth in metropolitan regions across the developing regions, particularly in asia.

Megacities are the centers of innovation and generations of social change that influence the development of the nation state.  The mega-urban regions found across the developing world represent a complex mix of varied settlement types, with important differences due to history, economic, cultural, and technological factors that have influenced their development. Primate cities are urban regions with moderate rates of growth. They are important political centers and although there has been regional planning and administrative coordination, they confront serious problems in housing, water, traffic, and environmental pollution. Rapid urban population growth has outpaced the ability of city authorities to provide for housing and environmental health and infrastructure. “Squatter developments” also known as slums can be defined as areas within a city of a less developed country inhabited by the very poor. Squatter and slum settlements have formed mainly because of the inability of city governments to plan and provide affordable housing for the low-income segments of the urban population. These shantytowns, or squatter settlements, have many names all over the world- favellas (Brazil), bustees (India), barriadas (Mexico), poblaciones (Chile), villas miserias (Argentina), bidonvilles (Africa), and kampongs (Southeast Asia).  Although there names vary, they having many features in common including frequent public health crises, crime, crushing poverty, and no future for the next generation since few countries provide them with school. Many shantytowns support robust economies within their informal boundaries. The issue of the informal economy is an important focus of urbanization research in developing countries. In the informal sector, people sell everything from drugs, cigarettes, convenience store items, produce, and even their bodies, all of which are considered “off the books” or illegal. Poor people find informal or casual employment as shoe shiners, messengers, delivery persons, and domestic helpers, in addition to the burgeoning demand for restaurant and other commercial laborers. The informal economy paints a picture of shantytown life.

Urban social movements are connected to the global economy. Workers in developing countries constitute a complex social order with many different class statuses. The global economy also effects urban social movements directly through its agents of international control. The Leyes de Indias, also known as the Law of the indies, contains 148 ordinances concerning the location and construction of settlements in the Spanish Colonies. These laws are one of the first comprehensive guidelines for the design and development of cities. The ordinances specify how public, religious, commercial, and residential spaces were to be designed. 1979 Joint Venture Law was the first series of regulations that allowed foreign capital into China.

Urban Sociology Week 15

Different societies around the world exhibit their own patterns of urban and regional development, which is the result of individual historical circumstances, position within the world system, and cultural influences and other factors. Although they exhibit different patterns, many share the increasing regional sprawl characteristic of the United States.  Redevelopment and gentrification occurs within the central city, but most new commercial and residential development occurs in suburban settlement space. With factors such as income and racial segregation, there has been serious inequalities in employment, housing, education, medical care, and other aspects of everyday life. Patterns of urbanization in the U.S and Europe are similar as they both have seen shifts in industry to high technology, declines in manufacturing, and growth in the service sector are common to both countries. The UK and London in particular, has led the way in surveillance of urban populations by the installation of cameras on public streets. It is estimated that a person traveling through London in the course of a typical day will appear on more than twenty security screens. Both the UK and France has seen an extended period of industrial decline which led to the restructuring of metropolitan regions. France has also seen deindustrialization as a result in a social crisis for many working-class families and for the French society more broadly. The UK has undergone a shift from manufacturing to service industries.

CRJS 382 Module 11

This weeks article I chose to focus on was called “Mothers in Trouble: Coping With Actual or Pending Separation From Children due to Incarceration.” As female offenders have become the fastest growing population in prison today, this study aims to focus on the unique experiences mothers have before trial and during incarceration, as they are separated from their children.

Female offenders constitute 7.5% of inmates, but have become the fastest growing population in America’s prisons today. The Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that most incarcerated women are mothers and, unlike fathers in prison, were the main caregivers for their children before imprisonment. Also, the number of children with a mother in prison more than doubled since 1991. These statistics indicated a growing social problem and there are few studies in the fields of criminal justice and corrections that focus on women offenders’ experiences as mothers. This study uses 74 semistructured interviews conducted with mothers before trial and during incarceration, to document coping strategies that they employed to deal with potential or actual separation from their children. Prior research suggests that female prisoners tend to share certain characteristics and many have problems that predate incarceration. They are most likely to be poor, single, and disproportionately racial minorities and on average the mothers have two children. Most incarcerated women experience triple traumas in their lives, and many were sexually abused as children and victimized in their adolescence and adulthood. As a result of this, many women were incarcerated for drug-related offenses and were abusing drugs or alcohol before incarcerations, as a way to cope to earlier life abuse and violence. The research found that imprisoned mothers often attempt to maintain their relationship with children by presenting themselves as “good mothers” and disassociating from other imprisoned but “unfit” mothers. Children continue to play central role in women’s lives even during imprisonment. Mothers in prison often see children as motivation for change and their primary purpose in life.

The data from this study came from a bigger study examining the impact of parental incarceration on children and it included semistructured interviews by the second author between 2002 and 2004. The researcher interviewed 37 incarcerated mothers, 20 whom of which were in pretrial detention and 17 were inmates in a state prison, the other 37 were awaiting rial at home. The adult participants signed forms for their own participation as well as for their children’s participation. The interviews provided women an opportunity to share their life stories and discuss their parenting in depth. Women that were chosen for the study all had at least one child aged between 8 and 18 years. Being imprisoned poses many challenges to a woman’s ability to sustain her maternal role, given that she isn’t able to do a mothering job on a daily basis. Incarceration is not an event that occurs unexpectedly. It takes place after an extended period involving the adjudicatory process and sentencing. The coping process is one that can be defined as “constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific external and/or internal demands that are appraised as taxing or exceeding the resources of the person.” This definition of the coping process is a phenomenon that is viewed as a way to manage stressful circumstances and events regardless of what the outcomes are. The research of this article attempted to uncover the ways mothers cope with the pressures and strains associated with their roles as mothers.

There was a central theme that emerged in the interviews and it was motherhood. Incarcerated mothers were aware of their inability to perform most of their maternal duties, while mothers who were awaiting trial were dealing with the possibility of losing those maternal duties if they were to become incarcerated. This caused stressed among the mothers and they discussed how they tried to cope with them. There were seven techniques that incarcerated mothers used to cope with problems from actual or pending separation from their children. These seven techniques were being a good mother, mothering from prison, role definition, disassociation from prisoner identity, self-transformation, planning and preparation, and self-blame. For many jailed and incarcerated women, establishing their credentials as good mothers also meant having to defend their parenting skills against their criminal and drug abusing past, the very behavior that had separated them from their children. Another characteristic of mothers in prison was disassociation from prison identity. Some women claimed that though there are people who belong in jail or prison, they do not fit in there. Other mothers tended to minimize the behavior that resulted in their incarceration, thereby distinguishing themselves from other prisoners.

In conclusion, I can only imagine how hard it is to adjust to incarceration in general and the external stress of being a mother away from your children. A lot of mothers in this study came from disadvantaged, lower social and economic strata. They often struggled with physical and mental problems and suffered from a lack of social support. This research shows how beneficial services and treatment, both inside and outside of the criminal justice system, can assist mothers in effective coping with actual and pending separation from their families and children.

Celinska, K., & Siegel, J. (2010). Mothers in Trouble: Coping With Actual or Pending Separation From Children due to Incarceration. SAGE Journals, 90(4), 447-474. doi:10.1177/0032885510382218

Urban Sociology 327 Week 14

The current problems in the first decade of the twenty-first century are poverty, unemployment, foreclosures, and homelessness, as well as a severe economic depression. Cities are not unique in having acute social problems, but the spatial nature of big cities and the densely populated suburbs makes the uneven development particular severe. According to the socialspatial approach there are four significant factors that cause social problems. The first is the principle effect of the city as a built environment  is that it concentrates people and resources. This means that drugs and poverty, for instance, have a higher chance of creating a greater impact in large central cities and densely populates suburbs versus less dense ones. The second factor that causes social problems is the internalization of the capitalist economies. Large metropolitan regions such as LA and New York attract a lot of immigrants from poorer nations who have left their countries in search of abetter life. This leads to problems such as bilingual education, that affect these areas more than other places. The third factor is the changes in the global cycles of economic investment which affects metropolitan regions because of the scale of activities in the largest places. This refers to the recession in 2007 that left many people jobless. the American economy shed 8.8 million jobs through February 2010 (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011). The staggering job losses occurred mostly in manufacturing and construction, as US companies sought to increase their profits and earnings. The final factor social problems are caused by is the allocation of resources, which can be accentuated by dense, built environments. For example, large cities are major centers of the global economy. Extreme wealth is created within the city and the signs of the money are highly visible, such as expensive restaurants, upscale department stores, luxury housing, and limousines. There are a number of problems associated with urban life, including racism and poverty, crime and drugs, and housing inequities and homelessness.

The most extreme and continuing effects of racism have been felt by Africans Americans, who have been systematically discriminated against in employment and in the housing market. The most powerful indicator of continuing institutional racism in the United States is population segregation.  A study was done in 1965 that compiled statistics on American cities with regard to the relative locations of whites and blacks. The study replicated itself in 1970 and found that some of the most segregated cities during this time were Detroit, Chicago, Buffalo, Cleveland, and Birmingham.  Involuntary segregation is the spatial cluster of population groups. In the case of African Americans, the urban ghettos were created by a from of racism and violence designed to prevent blacks from moving into “white” settlement spaces, federal housing policies that concentrated public housing in the inner city while subsidizing “white flight” to the suburbs through construction of the interstate highway system and home mortgage loans, and other factors. Hypersegregation is the extreme segregation that exists in our nation’s cities today. Hispanics are considerable more integrated in American society than blacks. While African Americans confront the highest levles of segregation, Asian Americans have the lowest levels. Puerto Ricans are more segregated than Mexicans. Cultural factors such as language and religion are associated with the level of segregation for particular ethnic groups.

Exclusionary zoning is a kind of racism where government regulations and real estate agents prevent African Americans from moving outside the large city even if they can afford to do so. As a result, there is a scarcity of affordable housing within many communities, and region-wide racial segregation is compounded by poverty. In 2012, the federal government issued guidelines that defined poverty for a family of four as $23, 492 in yearly income for the United States. Another indicator of poverty besides money is whether or not people possess health insurance. In 2007, before the economic crisis hit, almost 16 percent of americans had none. Income inequality is at an all time high, surpassing even levels seen during the Great Depression. As our economic crisis persists, unemployment remains high. Each year an inmate spends in prison costs some taxpayers $30,600. In this chapter we have seen that while many social problems are not typically “urban” anymore, our metro regions play a role specific to their spatial attributes. Cities concentrate people, so as a from of space, they also concentrate their problems. When dealing with many social issues, cities remain important as places that need special consideration from policy makers and municipal governments need resources from higher levels of administration.

CRJS 382 Module 10

The article I read this week examined the issues of in-prison sexual victimization. Several studies have examined consensual activity in female correctional institutions, but have not examined the in-prison sexual assault among incarcerated women. The study I read about examined 436 females inmates in a large Southern prison system and explored the demographic characteristics as predictors of sexual victimization.

According to the research, female inmate presence in prison has doubled itself during the past decade, which leads to increased issues in correctional facilities. One of the main issues that correctional administrators have to deal with is the impact of past sexual victimization among female inmates. Past victimization has shown to created an increase of prevalence behaviors among the women, such as substance use and abuse, unprotected promiscuity, and other involvement in criminal activity. With the formation of The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, has come increased attention to sexual victimization among incarcerated males and females. Self reports such as the NCVS and UCR show how frequently sexual victimization occurs nationwide. Research has found that sexual victimization is a problem faced by women of all ages and that it is important to understand the prevalence among children as well. In this particular study, the researchers found that women reporting lifetime sexual abuse, had been abused as children, as half were younger than 18 at the time of the victimization. The prevalence of sexual victimization has been found to be high among the outside-prison population but even higher amongst incarcerated female populations.

In this specific research, the researchers used self-report data to examine lifetime and in-prison sexual victimization among a sample of incarcerated prisoners in a large Southern prison system. Specifically, they examined the background characteristics of female prisoners who reported experiencing sexual victimization as well as the type of victimization and place of occurrence. The response rate from the 436 participants was 61%, which was a much higher response rate than those of previous studies that examined sexual assault in female correctional facilities.

The data was collected by face-to-face interviews with female inmates inmates. During the interviews the inmates were asked to speak about the issues they faced while incarcerated. These issues, specifically, were based off of perceptions of and experiences with in-prison sexual victimization. The data was collected over a year period from March of 2005 to June of 2006.  Most respondents completed the survey within about 45 minutes. Part of the researchers goal of the sample was to explore the characteristics compared to the characteristics of national and state incarcerated female populations. The second thing they examined was different variables such as age, marital status, high school completion, sexual orientation, and whether the respondent was a first time inmate, to ascertain whether or not there were significant differences between the abused and nonabused groups. Their definition of sexual victimization includes penetration, attempted penetration, touching, and harassment. The results showed that the present group of females prisoners did in fact reflect national and state-level data regarding demographic characteristics of female prison inmates.The range age of women in the sample was 20 to 73, with the average age of the women being 38.  The sample revealed that 68.4% of the participants reported life-time sexual victimization, and 17.2% reported in-prison sexual victimization. A majority of the lifetime victims reported a completed penetration without consent and overall, 43.1% reported being the victim of a completed sexual assault at some point during their lifetime. Of the in-prison victims, 17.3% reported a completed sexual assault which is similar to those of other studies examining sexual victimization among female inmates. One fifth of the lifetime victims reported that they were touched inappropriately without their consent, and 3.7% of the lifetime victims reported sexual abuse not involving touching. A majority of the in-prison victims reported inappropriate touching or groping without their consent, which the researchers attributed to the nature of pat-down and strip searches by prison employes as well as quick victimizations perpetrated by other inmates who are attempting to victimize without being noticed by correctional authorities. The rates of victimization both in-prison and outside of prison settings is higher than rates found in previous studies.

The findings of this study aim to bring awareness to the types of victimization that can occur in prison or correctional settings, among females. While the research did not specify on who the perpetrators were (whether other inmates or administrators) it shows how prison programs and policy can be improved to better meet the needs of female offenders. Prior knowledge of victimization of inmates, will allow programs to be more gender responsive and more successful in treating the issues that female victims and offenders bring with them into the correctional facility.

Blackburn, A., Mullings, J., & Marquart, J. (2008). Sexual Assault in Prison and Beyond. The Prison Journal, Volume 88 Number 3, 351-377. doi:10.1177/0032885508322443


Urban 327 Week 13

Weber understood social relations as communal and associative. Communal to him meant that there was total involvement of the individual in the group and associative social relations were marked by rational and less sustained individual involvement. In the 1920’s and 1930’s Urban Sociologists were studying the question whether urban settlement space, when contrasted with the rural way of life, produces differences in behavior. This question came about because americans began to leave the farms and small towns and move to larger industrial cities looking for work. Sociologists began to examine how the intimacy of small town life was the result of primary social relationships, and how life in the city would force anonymous relations on individuals based on business considerations rather than friendship. City people were considered to be unfriendly, rushed, uncaring, suspicious, and standoffish. The social disorganization perspective, according to Wirth, explains how the replacement of personal relationships by secondary relations in the city would have negative effects on the individual from a small town and on everyday life, which would produce anomie and disengagement from community life. Silvia Fava, another urban scholar, extended Wirth’s view and examined how therefore everyday life in the suburbs would be different from that of the city. In the 1950’s and 1960’s a reasonable description of American suburbs would have single-family households and home that were mostly white. Suburban life would be characterized by personal relationships, increased neighboring, strong family ties, and prevalence of younger households with children.

Gans argued with Wirth’s beliefs describing the city by saying that it is not the fact of residing in a city or suburb that has a determinant effect on everyday life, but that the characteristics of the population and population subgroups living in particular suburbs or city neighborhoods. He believed that while an individual’s interactions may be primary, or secondary, the interactions are determined by demographic characteristics such as age, gender, married, married with children, and just an overall personal choice. The long-standing tradition of sociological research on urban communities had its origins in the social study, associated with the settlement house and social reform movement at the end of the nineteenth century. At this time, people were worried about housing and living conditions for the working classes in the new industrial cities. Jane Addams established Hull House in 1889 in the Near West Side Neighborhood in Chicago with her college friend and partner, Ellen Gates Star. Hull house included kindergarten classes for children, night classes for adults, a public kitchen, and art and drama classes.

The community study was a distinctive genre of urban research developed in the United States and Britain in the 1920s and 1930s. In the community study urban sociologists sought to apply more scientific methods to study the impacts of social change on everyday life in the industrial city. In the 1960s and 1970s, a series of neighborhood studies contradicted the social disorganization thesis of the early Chicago School. Eliot Liebow’s  ethnographic study showed that amid the apparent social disorganization of urban life, the young men who hung out on neighborhood street corners sought to create a social hierarchy as workers, husbands, and lovers within the limited opportunities available to them. Claude Fisher claimed that while most of the differences among individuals in the metropolis were caused by background factors such as class and race, certain attributes of behavior differed among people according to their location.

Cities and suburbs are not just spaces where people organize their lives, but they are also physical environments that are meaningful. It is common for people to impute distinct meanings and associate specific emotions with places. When we go home for the first time after being away at school for multiple months, there is not only the significance of the location but also the feelings of comfort, security, and happiness, that we associate with going home. “Mental Maps” are daily routines that vary in detailed knowledge of space that we each carry with us in great detail in our minds. We use these maps to negotiate through space and to assign meanings to different places. Often these maps are a function of power and class differences, or social stratification. One of the more common results from mental map research is the differences in both the conception and meaning of a local place are correlated with difference in social class. Differences in the conception of space reflect social stratification and the perceived differences regarding power and class.

Semiotics of public space include the interactions which take place in shopping malls, department stores, and entertainment districts. Behavior in public depends on the proper expression, interpretation, and negotiation of signs between people interacting with one another and with the built environment. The semiotic aspect of city and suburban living is essential to everyday life, as the sociospatial perspective suggests. Neighboring is said to be the most characteristic behavior of suburban life. Neighboring and community involvement are strongly related to life cycle. Neighboring studies are important because they are related to the issues of community and territory. According to the textbook, a neighborhood can be defined as any sociospatial environment where primary relations among residents dominate. Community depends less on territory and is more a function or a network of friends and relatives dispersed in space.  The five types of urban neighborhoods are the parochial, the integral, the diffuse, the anomic, and finally the stepping-stone neighborhood.


CRJS 382 Module 9

The article I chose to focus on for this module focused on “partners in crime,” the relationship between female offenders and their co-dependants. Women’s involvement in crime is highly likely to capture media attention as women aren’t seen to be nearly as violent as men. Our societal views of women conform them to traditional roles of wives and mothers and any stray from that norm gains immediate attention. The article focuses on how criminologists have devoted little time to routine criminality between women and men and research into female offending has concentrated more on abuse, or women’s experience of imprisonment. Instead of focusing on juveniles in general and boys in particular, this article focused on the phenomenon of adult co-offending. The importance of the research is the role women played in the male-female criminal collaborations. The research was done over a year period in an English prison from December of 2004 to December of 2005. All sentenced women that were of the age of 21 were given a letter inviting them to be interviewed about their criminal experiences. 50 women with co-defendants agreed to be interviewed and these interviews were conducted in private and tape recorded. The women of the research were generally young stemming from ages 21-9 and 21-35. The male offenders were a little older than their counterparts with ages stemming from 21-40. Drug use was prominent and more than three-quarters of the women were serving their sentence for offenses that were drug-related while others committed offenses more related to robbery and theft. Description (A) showed a woman in a coercive relationship with a male co-defendant who committed a crime as a result of a direct threat or use of physical violence from him, which was very common among the females interviewed. This specific example described the male using a knife on the female in order to force her to go into a property and take a persons money. She later explains how she wasn’t all to surprised because he used to beat her up. Another example of a girl named Rachel who the researcher described as “bright and intelligent,” suffered severe abuse physically and mentally. She was forced to do things she didn’t want to and she was often left in fear of her male counterpart. She was often left at fault for his wrong doings after he would force her to admit to things she didn’t do. She was stuck in a relationship with him and he would go to the extremes of locking her in the house for a week at a time and even tying her up. She described her fear calling it “unbelievable,” and explained how he used to threaten not only but her family as well. He would threaten to rape her little sister as well as to do things with her parents so she stated that she stayed with him for “everyone else’s sake.” One-third of the women in the research had claimed that they had been in violent relationships with their co-defendants and more than one-third voluntarily mentioned to the interviewed that they had been abused in childhood, even though they weren’t asked this. The researcher specifically noted, “In England, Morris et al. (1995) discovered that almost half of a sample of 200 women prisoners reported a history of physical abuse and nearly a third had experienced sexual abuse” (p. 155).  Description (B) described women who committed a crime as a result of men’s expectation or association. The researcher stated that that this was the largest category with forty percent of the interviewees indicating that they had felt at the time that they should “stand by their man.” Usually this was due to abuse or manipulation. A common form of manipulation by the males was through drug use. Tonia was one example and she explains how her relationship with her co-defendant started out by going and getting drinks then that later turned into him asking her if she wanted to try drugs. She thought it was a kind gesture at the time but later realized how he would use it against her. Another form of manipulation used by the males was to persuade the woman to take all the blame for the crimes. The final descriptions used were women who committed crimes through “love” as well as the co-defendants being equal partners in the crime and finally whose co-defendants were women.

In conclusion, not all of the women inside the prison were “bad.” There circumstances that had led them to that point were often because of bad choices involving men, which had made their situations worse. While this research doesn’t represent female offenders in general, it shows how women who became emotionally involved with men were often dragged into their criminal lifestyles, even if it was against the women’s better judgement. Many of the women had prior addictions which only made things worse when the men would manipulate existing addiction to ensure submission and compliance. This research shows the depth of women offending with male counterparts and how although not all are because of their counterparts, they do tend to have a big influence over the female.

Jones, S. (2008). Partners in Crime: A study of the relationship between female offenders and their co-defendants. SAGE Journals, Vol 8 no. 2, 147-164. doi:doi: 10.1177/1748895808088992


Fall Urban327 Week 12 (Nov 4th)

Chapter seven focuses on examining the effect of class standing on lifestyles, gender differences, and everyday life. Max Weber said that an individual’s class position is important because it helps determine the life chances that can be expected in the future. What he means by this statement is that their are certain opportunities that exist within classes. For instance, someone who grows up in a lower class family may have significantly different chances of becoming successful later in life than for those who are from higher class families. One’s social standing in the society’s hierarchy can depend on attributes such as race, gender, ethnicity, and religion. While these factors all contribute to life chances, both Weber and Marx agreed that material wealth was the most important of these social variables.

The United States is stratified through a social hierarchy that determines their access to resources. This stratification is often symbolized through a triangle, with those at the very top having the most control over society’s resources as well as the most symbolic prestige and political influence. While this top of the period enjoys the most resources, this part of the triangle is the least populated. Those below this stratified society are the most numerous and have the least power. Research on the American class structure divides our society into a number of different groups based on what social scientists call socioeconomic status, or SES. The five main factors of the SES are a combination of wealth, occupation, education, gender, and race.

The upper class known as the wealth often have the advantage of having homes because they can afford them. Multiple home ownership is an indicator of wealth and power that carries meaning and prestige in our society. There are fashionable districts in various cities where the wealthy are associated with. For instance, Beverly Hills in Los Angeles is a certain space allocated to high end restaurants, resorts, and social clubs which are reserved for the upper class and celebrities. Some characteristics of the wealthy are by manifesting there power and status by isolating themselves as much as possible from the rest of the population. This type of isolation is mainly voluntary by living in gated housing and utilizing private transportation such as door-to-door limousine services, and private jets and planes. The textbook mentions one of the best studies on the upper-class by a sociologist named E. Digby Baltzell. His study was titled “Philadelphia Gentlemen” and it indicated that while the wealthy require their own segregated space, the areas they choose for their voluntary isolation vary over the years, because, in an effort to remain invisible, the wealthy had to move as the metropolitan region expanded over time. The upper class was therefore subject to the same forces of deconcentration and regional drift that other individuals in the metropolis were subject to. The next class was the creative class and suburban middle class. This class includes those who work hard for the money they earn but aren’t necessarily a part of the upper class. One term the book uses is yuppie, which is a young urban professional that is relatively young and a middle-class professional who lives in the city. The yuppies are therefore a subpopulation of the middle class who are characterized by their income, occupation, and lifestyle but not identified by ethnicity or race. Below this class is the working class and the working poor. The term “working poor” refers to the standard of living which is declining as cities become expensive places to reside in. The quality of life of the working class depends on the public services provided by the local government. Their standard of living depends on city services, the working poor are often at odds with administrators. While the lives of women are a critical component of urban and suburban activities, the built environment reflects men’s activities, men’s values, and men’s attitude toward settlement space. Feminist observers have increasingly prodded urban sociology to gain greater insight into the role of women as a differential group, and their needs, in everyday metropolitan life.

The “Girl Hunt,” is an aspect of city life that involves college and young adult males making their way to the so-called meat market city nightclubs in search of pickups and one-night stands. The research hits really close to home as a college female and the research gives a very depressing and cynical view of what amounts to the major means of socializing among young adults in our society. The “festival marketplace” is a US concept which explains the waterfront sites emphasizing consumption and entertainment much like the cities of Baltimore and Boston. I live about 30 minutes from Baltimore and about 5 miles from Annapolis and the waterfront views are prime global tourist oriented attractions. There are three different waves of immigration, the first wave beginning with Columbus’s voyage in 1492 when Western European settlers confronted the Native Americans. The second wave occurred in the 1800s when industrialization was in full bloom and the cities in the US were expanding. Most second-wave immigrants made their homes in the city. Public health crises and crime waves were common as cities at that time were mainly overcrowded. The third wave of immigrants arrived in the 1970s and about 75 percent are from Latin America and Asia, which differ from previous waves who came from Europe.