Lessons Unlearned: Women Offenders, the Ethics of Care, and the Promise of Restorative Justice

Marie A. Failinger

Hamline University - School of Law

January 1, 2006

Fordham Urban Law Journal, Vol. 33, p. 487, 2006

The steep rise in female offenders since the 1960s has finally caused criminologists, lawyers, judges, and others to consider why they have not learned more about women offenders’ lives, in order to better understand and explain why they enter, and how they proceed through the criminal system. This article focuses on the reality that women’s relationality, and particularly their relationships with men in their lives, profoundly affect the behavior that lands them in the criminal justice system. This article argues that restorative justice, which is essentially grounded on an ethical understanding of crime and treats the offender as an interacting subject/agent, is a necessary avenue of response to most women offender’s crimes. The author deconstructs the assumption of treatment-based, services-based, and traditional punitive incarceration, and the contrasting prospects for restorative justice approaches on women offenders. The argument of this article, thus, is essentially an appeal about why restorative justice systems might be especially appropriate for women who approach criminal choices using an “ethics of care” rather than an “ethics of right.”

Number of Pages in PDF File: 40

Keywords: restorative justice, female offenders, women offenders, criminal system, traditional incarceration, ethics of care, ethics of right

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Date posted: November 5, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Failinger, Marie A., Lessons Unlearned: Women Offenders, the Ethics of Care, and the Promise of Restorative Justice (January 1, 2006). Fordham Urban Law Journal, Vol. 33, p. 487, 2006. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1929515

Contact Information

Marie A. Failinger (Contact Author)
Hamline University - School of Law ( email )
1536 Hewitt Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55104-1237
United States
(651) 523-2124 (Phone)
(651) 523-2236 (Fax)
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