Cover image for Encyclopedia of women and crime
Encyclopedia of women and crime
Rafter, Nicole Hahn, 1939-
Publication Information:
Phoenix, Ariz. : Oryx Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xxx, 361 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV6046 .E56 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



This is the first reference work to offer the wealth of material on women and crime to a general audience. More than 200 authoritative contributors from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia examine the subject from the perspectives of offenders, offenses, and theories on offending, victims and victimology, the criminal justice system, punishment and treatment.

Author Notes

Nicole Hahn Rafter is a professor in the Law, Policy, and Society Program at Northeastern University. She also serves on the editorial boards of Criminology, Punishment and Society, and Law and History Review. Dr. Rafter has written and cowritten numerous books on criminology issues. She holds a Ph.D. in criminal justice from the State University of New York-Albany and was recently elected a Fellow of the American Society of Criminology

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Described by the editor as the "first comprehensive reference book on the topic of women and crime," this volume has 240 alphabetically arranged, signed entries authored by more than 200 contributors. Entries include further readings as well as cross-references. The index is well developed; the nearly 40-page list of resources, both electronic and print, is very helpful; and a "Topic Finder" offers the reader a quick but structured overview of the contents. The scope is international, providing information from Australia, Great Britain, Canada, and the U.S., with the focus on the latter. Rafter reports that the encyclopedia was developed around four themes: crime; victims and victimology; policing, courts, and case processing; and punishment and treatment. The work also does an admirable job of offering what could have been identified as a fifth theme: careers in criminal justice, police work , law, and corrections. Within this general subject can be found such entry headings as Lawyers and gender difference, Women professionals in the justice workplace, and discussions of police subcultures that contain, for example, lesbians and women of color. The entries cover enormous territory, treating such topics as Aggression; Borden, Lizzie; Child-savers movement; Death row; Elderly victims; O'Connor, Sandra Day; Shoplifting; Terrorism; and Victims, historical treatment of. In one example, Crime fiction writers, a minihistory of the genre examines a few of its superstars, such as the "mother of the detective novel" Anna Katherine Green (1846^-1935), who inspired Agatha Christie as well as Sara Paretsky. Evidence of the frustration, the absurdity, and the cruelty inherent in any polar classification of women can be found in the entry titled Madonna/whore dichotomy. In Rape rates, USA, information provided by the only ongoing national survey, the U.S. Census Bureau's National Crime Victimization Survey, is reported. Also discussed is the chilling National Women's Study, wherein the authors estimated that more than 12 million American women have been raped; that's a rate of some 683,000 forcible rapes per year. This well-organized reference tool is recommended for public libraries of any size, as well as high-school and undergraduate libraries, where it should prove valuable to the researcher, student, casual reader, and librarian. It should also be considered for locations with limited space but a demonstrated need for this type of information, such as bookmobiles or other off-site collections.

Library Journal Review

Traditionally focused on male criminals, criminology has turned its attention to women only in the past 30 years. This handy encyclopedia presents a lay reader's guide to the latest research on women and crime in the United States, Great Britain, Australia, and Canada, with an emphasis on the United States. Criminologists, policewomen, lawyers, and judges are covered to some extent, but the emphasis is on women as either perpetrators or victims of crime. In entries ranging from a paragraph to several pages, the contributors cover topics ranging from the earliest reports on female criminals to the latest issues, such as the criminalization of pregnancy (in which pregnant women who use drugs are charged with child abuse, assault, or homicide). Large topics, such as Feminist Criminology or Battered Women and Self-Defense, have separate essays for different countries, allowing the researcher to compare and contrast the different perspectives. A particularly useful feature is the Topic Finder, which helps the user locate all the relevant entries on such areas as Victims and Victimology or Policing, though it doesn't cover all areas of potential interest. The extensive bibliography is also a good addition. Another strong reference from Oryx, this will be useful in criminology and women's studies collections and for large public libraries.DDeirdre Bray Root, Middletown P.L., OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Timely and comprehensive, this volume gathers a diverse and widely scattered body of materials produced since the late 1960s that challenge the historically male orientation of criminology. Subject categories covered are "women as offenders, victims, criminologists, criminal lawyers, reformers and workers in the criminal justice system." Detailed, highly readable, and cross-referenced entries by contributors from the US, Canada, Britain, and Australia provide background and history of five main themes: crime (including offenders, offending, and theories of offending), victims and victimology, policing, the courts and case processing, and punishment and treatment. Coverage extends from the late 19th century (including biographies of Ma Barker and Lizzie Borden, among others) to February 2000. Two extensive bibliographies, "Works Cited" and "Legal Cases and Legislation," significantly augment the subject essays, with access eased by a "topic finder" and indexing by subject and by personal, organization, and case names. Reference collections in graduate, undergraduate, and special libraries supporting degree programs in sociology, women's studies, and law. R. B. M. Ridinger; Northern Illinois University

Table of Contents

Contributorsp. v
Alphabetical List of Entriesp. xv
Topic Finderp. xix
List of Figures and Tablesp. xxiii
Prefacep. xxv
Encyclopedia of Women and Crimep. 1
Works Citedp. 307
Indexp. 345