Dead Woman Walking
Executed Women in England and Wales, 1900-55
This title was first published in 2000: Between 1900 and 1950 130 women were sentenced to death for murder in England and Wales. Only 12 of these women were actually executed. Thus, 91 per cent of women murderers had their sentence commuted, whereas if we examine the corresponding figures for men, only 39 per cent had their sentence commuted. It would appear that state servants working within the criminal justice system were far more reluctant to hang women than men. However, this text argues that a closer examination of this apparent discrepancy reveals it to be a misconception which has come about as a result of the statistics regarding infanticide. That is to say - unlike men - the vast majority of women murderers have killed their own child or children. Once this is taken into account we find that women who had murdered an adult had less hope of a reprieve than men. Thus, the author shows that the large proportion of women murderers as killers of their own children has created a false impression of how female murderers fared inside the criminal justice system.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction. 2. From Antiquity to Modernity: A Social History of Capital Punishment and Gender. 3. Beyond Traditional and Revisionist Theory: Feminist Theory and the Power to Punish. 4. Women as Child-Killers: Four Case-Studies. 5. Women Killing other Women. 6. Women Who Kill their Male Partners. 7. Conclusion.