Gender gaps are a hot topic in recent years. Hashtags are created as triumphant rally cries to end the oppression of females and cease the privilege of males. No matter how trivial the “gap” is or how privileged the women involved are, these movements receive major media attention. (“Close The Gender Gap on Being Potheads,” anyone?)
Hillary Clinton has joined the throng with a new article that was released on her campaign website entitled, “The US has 5% of the world’s women but 30% of its women prisoners. These are the consequences.”
It talks about how terrible women have it in the prison system and the injustice they receive at the hands of judges. Hillary believes that “every part of the justice system, from sentencing to the conditions of confinement to re-entry services, should reflect women’s unique needs.”
Except it already does to a drastic degree.
In every aspect of the justice system, it is better to be a woman than a man. According to Sonja Starr, a researcher at the University of Michigan, women are treated less harshly than their male counterparts. In her paper, “Estimating Gender Disparities in Federal Criminal Cases,” Starr looked at a huge database of federal cases and followed them from the date of arrest through sentencing and, after controlling for criminal history and other relevant factors, she found that “men receive 63 percent longer sentences on average than women do,” and “women are...twice as likely to avoid incarceration if convicted.”
A woman named Alice, who spent 17 years in prison, is quoted, saying she “lost many people during these 17 years. [She] couldn’t attend funerals, graduations, birthdays.” But what about the men who received far longer sentences for the same crime? How many people did they lose because of a system that favors women? According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “on average, convicted wives received prison sentences that were about 10 years shorter than what husbands received.”
That is a lot more funerals, graduations and birthdays missed.
Tanya, another woman quoted, describes the troubles of coming back home after being in jail. She says, “incarceration also had a significant effect on my mother...she responded to me as if I was still 20 years old,” and “I went out to a career day” but “as soon as they hear ‘woman formerly incarcerated,’ they say they’re not interested, they can’t hire anyone with a record.”
How are these solely female problems? Do men not have mothers who wouldn’t be significantly affected by their incarceration? Wouldn’t career day representatives be just as turned off when they hear “man formerly incarcerated?"
Hillary and other women's groups believe women are being pushed to the side in the prison system in favor of men, without objective and factual evidence. Take, for example, the American Civil Liberties Union, who say “women receive harsher sentences for killing their male partners than men receive for killing their female partners,” which is completely false. What was their evidence? A 1980s fact sheet from a women’s advocacy group.
What is the solution? Not harsher sentences for women. The U.S. incarceration rate is already the second highest in the world; that fire does not need any more fuel. However, women do not need a more lenient justice system.
Take that noble idea and use it for men. Many of them are being given incredibly high sentences for crimes that do not warrant them, that they receive just for being sons, brothers, fathers and husbands instead of being daughters, sisters, mothers and wives.
The last sentence brings the falsity home: “Women...are being crushed by the criminal justice system.” No, men are the ones being crushed. The high incarceration rate for males is one of the greatest gender disparities of our generation, and it is nearly invisible.
Hillary Clinton has turned a blind eye to the problems of men in favor of "helping" already privileged women, and she has lost my vote.