Document Type


Publication Title

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology



Publication Date



Biological Study, gender, defense, crime


This Article attempts to explain some of the disparity in criminality between males and females by analyzing the results of the “Biosocial Study,” one of this country's largest longitudinal studies of biological, psychological, and sociological predictors of crime. Section II analyzes the literature and research on gender differences in crime. Section III describes the Biosocial Study and its results, noting the gender differences in the prevalence and prediction of crime and the inability of any one factor to be a strong predictor of crime. Section IV considers whether gender differences warrant disparate types of punishment or treatment within the criminal justice system by analyzing the gender-variant defense within a continuum of four gender-based defenses. Next, this section discusses and critiques the tendency for the criminal law to view the more biologically-based defenses as manifestations of gender stereotypes and to explain the more culturally-constructed defenses in terms of supposed biological or psychological gender differences. Section V concludes that gender differences in prevalence and prediction should not be considered in sentencing.

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Criminal Law Commons