Associate Professor Christina DeJong on Women’s Rights and the Justice System

Photo of Christina DejongAssociate Professor Christina DeJong spoke in a recent series of radio and newspaper interviews regarding her publication in Women & Criminal Justice, Police and the War on Women: A Gender-Linked Examination Behind and In Front of the Blue Curtain. The paper was co-authored by L. Thomas Winfree Jr., Professor of Criminal Justice at New Mexico State University.

The study found that arrests of women increased dramatically in the past two decades, while domestic abuse laws meant to protect female victims have put many behind bars for defending themselves.

The study analyzed FBI data for all crimes from 1993 to 2012 and found that while arrest rates for men dropped 12.5 percent, the arrest rates for women rose by 27.6 percent. When violent crime data was analyzed, the difference was even more evident: arrest rates for men dropped by 13.5 percent while the arrest rates for women went up 53.2 percent.

The change may be due in part to the criminal justice system’s dual arrest policies, under which both parties may be arrested in the case of a domestic violence incident. While much of the domestic violence committed by women is in the form of self-defense, arresting both parties may effectively re-label the victim as an offender.

Christina DeJong is an associate professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University. Her research interests focus on violence against women, hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity, genocidal violence, and gender differences in policing.