Abstract

This article questions the relevance of the theory of the criminalization of men in nineteenth-century Holland compared to the situation in England. Works on English criminality show a clear gender bias in relation to the prosecution and punishment of violence in the nineteenth century but we argue that this ‘criminalization of men’ did not occur in Holland between 1750 and 1886. Quantitative and qualitative data from different cities and produced by different courts (from the police tribunal to the highest court of justice) in the province of Holland have been collected and based upon these data, our research shows the absence of a clear emphasis on the prosecution of violent men. An increase in the cases of violence prosecuted by the courts is noticeable, but the criminalization of violence targeted both men and women. No gender bias could be found in the prosecution of violent offenders; in terms of sentencing, the somewhat harsher punishments given to men relate most likely to the seriousness of the wounds inflicted rather than a gender bias. Finally, this article suggests that the English judicial system gave more leeway to the different judicial actors to dismiss female offenders before they reached trial than in a system based on the penal code.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-1897
Print ISSN
0022-4529
Pages
pp. 149-167
Launched on MUSE
2015-09-30
Open Access
No
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