Female crime | Channel Criminal Sciences – Promoting Knowledge


Woman and criminality. Although not a subject that brings so much novelty like this, it is a theme that engages and sharpens the curiosity not only of the operator of the Law, but of those who have an interest in gender research.

We are in the week of International Women’s Day, which is why I decided to write a little about female criminology, in order to inform the readers of this channel that women have been the object of a study of Criminology since the earliest times.

Lombroso, for example, exponent of the Positive School, had published in 1893 a book dealing with female delinquency, called ” The Delinquent Woman, the Prostitute and the Normal Woman .”

Already in Greek mythology, the woman as a delinquent had a privileged position, since her criminal conduct was justified by passion or jealousy, as Alessandro Baratta points out when she says that ” the feminine question has become a privileged component of the criminal issue ” .

Similarly, Bordieu (1999), when he describes it as ” soft, insensitive violence, invisible to its own victims, which is essentially exercised by the purely symbolic means of communication or knowledge, or more precisely, of ignorance, recognition or, in the last instance, of feeling . “

As an example, we have the meddling practiced by Medea, who murdered her own children in revenge for her unfaithful husband, who, though repugnant, was justified by jealousy.

What is apparent is that the female appears as an author, and at the same time, a victim of crime. Author for having practiced typical, illicit and guilty conduct, and victim because the State ceases to be, in relation to her, guarantor of rights, thus arising the state co-culpability.

Entering the emotion that guides female crime – which practices infanticide, for example, justified by the puerperal state – is a challenge.

The art. 123 of the Criminal Code is nothing more than mere legal fiction to justify the murder committed by the mother against her own son. Some of the students of legal medicine do not recognize as psychic alterations the puerperal state in motivating the crime.

Emotion and passion do not exclude crime, although they are part of human psychology. They only attenuate it, depending on the concrete case, since art. 28, I of the current Brazilian Penal Code is quite clear: ” Do not exclude criminal responsibility: emotion or passion .”

Freud said that in women there was a near absence of superego formation which, in man, can lead to the repression of impulses (FERNANDES, 2010).

Currently, the originality of female delinquency behavior, attested to by statistical data, is vastly inferior to that practiced by men.

Lombroso claimed that ” the woman would be twice as weak as the man and therefore at least twice as criminal “. And it goes on: ” the inferiority of women’s delinquency also arose from a certain lack of ability and inadequacy .”


Female crime

Female crime


It is well known that abortion and infanticide reach the peak of black figures, since such criminal practices are rarely reported to the police. The criminal legal system, frequently, fits certain crimes as properly female, as an example, is the case of those arising from prostitution.

In the meantime, the primary responsibility for the commerce of the female body is an inquiry that has little or no impact on the criminal justice , since the social tolerance for such conduct is peaceful in Brazil.

Female delinquent behavior is most often found in crimes against property, drug trafficking and the corruption of minors, at least those that are labeled. Also noteworthy is the low rate of recidivism of criminal women, since they generally act by induction or, once again, by passion.

It is true that women commit fewer crimes than men, but this does not mean that they are less punished or condemned. In any case, in the field of Criminology, there is no evidence that they are more or less sociable than men, but for statistical data, women represent only 6.4% of Brazil’s prison population.

The female prison population rose from 5,601 to 37,380 detainees between 2000 and 2014, an increase of 567% in 15 years, and most of them are for drug trafficking, which accounts for 68% of prisons (CNJ data).

The study of female delinquency is important to the extent that detainees should be taken away from invisibility, as stated by the coordinator of the Department of Monitoring and Oversight of the Prison System:

” When we approach the prison system, we must recognize that women belong to one of the most vulnerable groups, in an already vulnerable segment, which is the prison population. We often forget that there is a moral reproach upon a woman that goes far beyond the crime she committed, making the penalty much heavier for her than for men . “

Finally, under the analysis of the criminological aspects that involve the female figure as an active subject of crime, it is pertinent to conclude that it differs from the male figure, therefore deserving to be treated as a special phenomenon in the criminal sphere, with the support of more effective public policies and specific to the criminal woman.