CrimeDivas

Female White-Collar Crime Divas-Mordern Day Thieves

Women In China’s Prisons !

achina

This crime knowledge information is not white-collar related, but the issue of women involved in crime on the rise is world-wide. Many correctional institutions world-wide were/are not prepared for the unique needs women prisoners present for the penal systems. This reprint only touches the surface of women in prison, but is a clear indication of the changes that are occurring world-wide.

Dui Hua aims to increase dialogue and exchange on incarcerated women in an effort to promote the implementation of the Bangkok Rules and ensure that women in custody are treated with dignity and respect. In partnership with the Centre for Comparative and Public Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Hong Kong; Renmin University Law School Center for Criminal Procedure and Reform; and Penal Reform International, we are organizing an international symposium on women in prison. Scheduled to occur in Hong Kong in 2014, the symposium will bring together stakeholders from prisons, civil society organizations, and other parts of the criminal justice spectrum and disseminate original research on women incarcerated in China.

Women in Prison

In December 2010, the United Nations introduced a framework for gender-specific corrections by passing Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules). This marked the first time that the international community focused specifically on incarcerated women, acknowledging worldwide growth in the number of women in custody. The Bangkok Rules are designed to meet the common physical and psychological needs of women in penal systems built principally for men. Yet only two countries, Thailand and the United Kingdom, have agreed to integrate the rules into national policy.

In China, the number of women in prison (excluding women held in re-education through labor and other forms of administrative detention) has grown dramatically since the 1990s, exceeding 93,000 in 2011. Domestic violence is a leading cause, and most women who fight violence with violence are severely punished with sentences ranging from 10 years’ imprisonment to death. China’s Supreme People’s Court is currently working to develop standards for sentencing in cases involving domestic violence.

While some research exists on the causes of women’s crime in China, Dui Hua has found only a few studies on the conditions and gender-specific policies at Chinese women’s institutions. As Executive Director John Kamm told The New York Times, there are some indications that women in prison fare better in China than in the United States, but many aspects of prison life remain unknown. Amendments to the Criminal Procedure Law, effective January 1, 2013, introduced new protections for pregnant women and girls, but other groups of women failed to win concrete improvements. (Photo credit: Tianfu Morning Paper).

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