Women and Crime: Theory and Indian Reality

Suvarna Cherukuri, Kansas State University

This paper focuses on various theoretical speculations on women and crime and their (ir)relevance to women offenders in an Indian prison. I will address some of the following concerns: (a) knowledge systems that have been used to understand female offenders as an "essential category." (b) Eurocentric criminological discourses (both malestream and feminist) that have ignored the various multiple specificities relating to female offenders. (c) How in some contexts like the Indian context, women offenders face two competing justice systems: traditional and legal. Thus, the need to dismantle unified and universal explanations. My study is based on the field-work I conducted in the Chanchalguda prison, Hyderabad, India. This paper argues that unified knowledges have ailed to address multiple specificities.As a result, women offenders merge as an "essential" category for criminological and penological purposes.

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Updated 05/20/2006