Lara Croft Inequalities in Gaming that are Mirrored in the UK Justice System

Gender disparities and the relative inequalities have had far reaching implications on the holistic wellbeing of women in the society. These disparities are manifest in the criminal justice system and they undermine the welfare of women offenders, workers and officials in the system. For instance, the low representation of women in the police makes it difficult for female victims of sexual assault and domestic violence to express themselves effectively. Apparently, they find the male dominated environment intimidating. This compromises the quality of evidence and in most cases, perpetrators are not punished. The introduction of Lara croft in video gaming is symbolic of the efforts being made by the feminist movement towards attaining equal representation of women in the society. This study evaluates how video gaming and Lara Croft mirror the inequalities in the UK criminal justice system. Findings indicate that the gender disparities are inherent in both video gaming and the criminal justice system. It is also indicated that the disparities undermine the holistic wellbeing of women. In order to enhance sustainability and justice, it is recommended that women be equally represented in all segments of the society.

1.1 Preamble
An understanding of the issues involved in any research is important to developing a clear picture of the significance of the research and plays a role in ensuring that the research approaches employed are placed in their right context. This chapter presents the background, justification, theoretical construct and nature of the research with the aim of developing a clear picture of the need for research, how the research will be undertaken and the significance that the study has on existing knowledge and practice within the society as a whole.

1.2 Background to the Study
Statistical evidence indicates that the population of women in the UK is more than that of men. Their physical and emotional needs also differ considerably from those of their male counterparts. The fact that the present mode of governance was created by men and therefore greatly reflects the needs of men puts women at a disadvantage. Notably, gender disparities have permeated all segments of the society. Hence women in the criminal justice system also grapple with numerous gender-based challenges just like women in other sectors.

The media plays a critical role in shaping the perceptions and general character of the viewers. In this regard, Gentile, Saleem and Anderson (2007 17) indicate that it is particularly influential in moulding the character of the youth as well as the entire population. In his review, Griffiths (2005 39) depicts that the content of the media is interpreted by various personalities differently. Its ability to determine the characters of individuals stems from the fact that it is used by the viewers in construction of the relative meanings of their day to day lives. In this respect, it is posited that the viewers associate the content in the media with their relationships and other facets of their lives. Increasingly, video games have assumed an elevated niche in the media industry because of its popularity. Karen (2003 54) showcases that video games are the most played and take up a great percentage of the publics time. Statistical evidence shows that presently, a significant percentage of the population prefers video games to watching television. In addition, the games are easily available on portable electronic devices like phones and therefore can be played from anywhere. Of great concern however is the fact that the video games are highly interactive in nature.

In his study, Griffiths (2005 39) reveals that interactivity has two major implications on the reception of the game content. First, increased game enjoyment means that the players are fully drawn and theoretically represented in the world of the game. This perceived presence in the other world according to Bensely and Juliet (2001 13) increases the capacity of the gamer to be highly receptive of the content of the game. This is what enables the same to deduce meanings and relate them to their day to day life. Secondly, interactivity enhances the identification of the player with the characters presented in the game. Thus the gamers tend to assume the characters of the players presented in the virtual context. In this respect, a study conducted by Griffiths (2005 40) in 2004 indicated that children often tend to identify themselves with certain characters in the video games, which in turn have a great influence on the development of their personalities.

It is for this reason that it becomes increasingly imperative to evaluate the content of the video games accordingly. Particular attention has been accorded to the roles and identities that are portrayed by the characters. However, Gender identity as portrayed by these games has also been a bone of contention in the recent past. This is due to the fact that they also have a great influence on the lives of the gamers in various ways. Traditionally, video games have always been dominated by masculine characters that seek to enhance male dominance within the society. Since time immemorial, gender stereotypes have always determined the content of the video games. Gauntlet (2002 56) ascertains that women are seldom accorded a leading role in most video games. They usually act supporting roles and roles that portray their struggle towards gender equality. In addition, women are also portrayed as weak characters that need to always be supported and rescued by their male counterparts. They have also been depicted as sensitive individuals that are very emotional.

Previous studies ascertain that male characters are mostly employed in video games and often assume a dominating position (Zoonen, 1994 52). In contrast, women in such games are usually represented as being submissive. Those that play leading roles in video games are given a negative perception by the characters in the games. On the other hand, good women are considered unthreatening and good looking (Zoonen, 1994 52). Further, Preez (2000 22) notes that the themes contained in the video games are also masculine in nature. In this regard, Olfman (2009) shows that themes that are mostly explored include war, sports, competition and action. Female characters in these are usually portrayed as being vulnerable and always depending on the powerful masculine force to come to their aid.

The Representation of Lara Croft
Numerous authors of whom Croal and Hughes (1997 58) are represented affirm that the release of Tomb Raider signified the departure from the male oriented perception that the society was according video games. Unlike the Tomb Raider, various video games that had presumably offered their female characteristics dominating roles always had men as their overall heroes. Thus the presentation of Lara Croft in the video games was a wake up call for females who had previously played support roles. In his review, Lancaster (2004 88) laments that traditionally, women have often assumed support roles and this has increasingly compromised their ability to succeed in a male dominated society. This position has been upheld by the male segment of the society that seeks to maintain their desirable position.

Notably, the judicial justice system of the United Kingdom has also not been exempted from this misguided conception. A classic example in this regard is manifested through the police system that has always given women a limited chance to participate in practical activities that characterize international missions. In other words, women are hardly allowed to the battle fields, irrespective of the fact that they have the capacity to participate in the same. In this regard, feminist studies indicate that women soldiers are mostly assigned support jobs that do not expose them to similar work environments like their male counterparts (Stanley  Wise, 1993 74). Moreover, it is clear from past surveys that women are highly underrepresented in the justice system especially in regard to high rank positions. It is adamantly evident that this justice system has found no room for women to exercise their independence and capabilities as depicted by Lara Croft.

Lara croft is presented as a perfect, noble super woman has exemplary physical, emotional and intellectual capabilities. Campbell (19991) indicates that her features are ideal and admirable by both men and women. In particular, he shows that her body is extremely feminine she is very strong and exhibits incredible gymnastic abilities. However, Mikula (2003 84) disputes that this is not really a representation of a real woman, Walkland (2003 56) indicates that the positive image that Lara croft brings forth ascertains that just like men women are independent, intelligent, resourceful and adventurous. Notably, these attributes have always been repressed by the male dominated society.
However, cultural studies argue that Lara is a bad representation because of the fact that her qualities contravene the cultural expectations. Nevertheless, from a western standpoint, Lara is an ideal representation of the ultimate goal of feminist efforts that are geared towards achieving fair representation within the society.

Marketing in the media industry contends that females tend to get irritated when they can not identify themselves with a given character. Conventional studies also ascertain that females dislike violent videos. Notably, these assumptions presented controversies during the objectification of Lara. Kennedy (2002 5) indicates that the video was meant for both males and females aged between sixteen and twenty five years. Incorporation of multiple characters in Lara Croft made it possible for the video game to be liked by both the males and females. In particular, Mikula (2003 80) points out that the females admired the masculine and intellectual ideals while the males found the masculine attitude and the feminine physique an admirable characteristic. Further, the fact that Lara is portrayed a character that can control and be controlled at the same time makes the video game viable for both men and women.

However, Mikula (2003 80) indicates that female players tend to enjoy the game more than there male counterparts. This is due to the fact that Lara depicts masculine features and males hate controlling the same. Females on the other hand perceive Lara as their role model as she assumes the dream characteristics of all women. In particular, she portrays exemplary strength, intellect and independence. Indeed, Lara is everything a bloke wants and everything a girl wants to be (Mikula, 2003 81). Seemingly, these characters are very desirable to women as they are critical in helping them achieve absolute independence from men.

1.3 Problem Statement
It is certain that the video games influence the development of children in different ways. Of great reference is their ability to impart various behavioural characters at different stages of growth. Reviewing the video games content to ensure that the identities presented therein do not contravene the values and laws used in governance is therefore very important. This would be instrumental in inculcating vital values in the children and ensuring that they grow up as very responsible citizens of this country. In the long run, this is likely to be effective in preventing crime and other forms of deviant behaviour in future.

Since historical times, it can not be disputed that women have always been underrepresented in the video games as well as in the society as a whole. Generally, they are represented as being dependent on men, weak and very sensitive. In addition, the fact that most of the video games enhanced male related themes such as sports, war and violence, action and competition made it difficult for women to cultivate interest in the same. However, the introduction of Lara Croft marked the beginning of a new era which gave women a chance to assume the roles that they have always desired in the world of virtual games. In particular, the dominance, beauty, independence and intellect that Lara Croft presented indicated that women, just like men, were capable of attaining a dominating position in the society.

Notably, this is in line with the goals of the feminist movement. Essentially, this movement seeks to fight for an equal representation of women in the society. Most studies affirm that Lara Croft presents the ideals of a successful woman in the present day society. The fact that female gamers prefer being identified with her irrespective of the violence incorporated in the video game indicated that the women still have the urge to fight on and assume a dominating position in the society.

The gender disparities in the society have various implications to the criminal justice system. It can be ascertained that since the introduction of the equality at the work place legislation, sufficient efforts have not been undertaken to ensure that this is attained in the criminal justice system too. At this juncture, it should be appreciated that women needs in the criminal justice system are very unique and can only be effectively dealt with by female officials. In particular, matters such as rape and domestic violence are believed to be effectively handled by women officers. Further, correctional facilities that house women inmates can only have a just representation if they are headed by female officials. Incorporation of these concerns in the criminal justice system is therefore imperative in order to achieve an equal representation of women in the society.

1.4 Justification of the Study
The rising number of women in the criminal justice system with complex and varied needs that are continuously unmet is very disturbing. This has culminated in a scenario that sees most women continue being imprisoned as offenders and numerous others fall victims of crime. This has further been compounded by the patriarchal nature of the system that gives women a limited chance to voice their concerns and have the resolved accordingly. Indeed, there is dire need to underscore these challenges and demand for immediate action from the government.

Recent developments like the introduction of Lara croft video game in the media industry is considered desirable and encouraging. Kafka and Levine (1998 39) concur that it is a clear representation of the ultimate goal that feminists seek to achieve. It is therefore necessary to review this case in order to understand the perception that women are presently accorded in the society. This would ensure that future efforts towards attaining gender equality are augmented by factual information regarding gender disparities. In addition to analyzing the gender disparities that the video game industry presents, it is vital to evaluate the content of the same in order to ensure that it reflects the fundamental societal values. This would be instrumental in preventing crime as the only desirable values would be inculcated in the young gamers.

1.5 Theoretical Construct
1.5.1 The Sexual Metaphor
Haste (1994 52) asserts that metaphors are an important aspect of our lives because they shape the western perception of the world. Indirectly, metaphors influence policy formulation at various levels. It is therefore important for the metaphors to be sustainable in order to avoid creating conflicts in the society. Feminism is a conception that denotes the struggle of women for equal representation. Feminist studies indicate at each and every individual has a chance to further every good regardless of his or her sexual status. In her review, Haste (199469) indicates that gender differences undermine the social wellbeing of the society. She argues that the perceived conflicts, differences and polarities between the two genders have increasingly portrayed the male sex as being superior to the female sex. In fact the survey by Fawcett Society authenticates this claim as it is seen that the United Kingdoms criminal justice system remains principally defined by male standards (2009 7).

Of great concern is the fact that a gendered viewpoint perceives women to be emotional and therefore less superior to men who are labelled rational. These differences according to Haste (1994 88) have been perpetuated by the dualistic standpoint that considers the male status as an ideal of the female status. In order to address these challenges in a sustainable manner, Haste (1994 92) shows that there is need to unmask these labels and inform the population about how the metaphors influence the current perception of gender. Clarification of the logos according to her requires the creation of anti logos to provide alternative and viable visions (Haste 1994 96). These anti logos are presumably inclined in the fundamental feelings of femaleness that make the female rational. Notably, these are inaccessible to men and they should be employed in empowering and strengthening the women in order to raise them to an equal footing with their male counterparts.

At this juncture, it can be argued that the introduction of Lara Croft marks the beginning of unmasking the conventional logos that have greatly influenced the perception of women by the entire society. Indeed, it cannot be disputed that the persistent disregard of the strength of women in the society has undermined their holistic wellbeing. This is further compounded by the fact that the dualistic viewpoint that characterizes this male dominated society contributed significantly to the formulation of policies and legislation that favour the male sex.  There is dire need to unmask numerous other logos that undermine the equal representation of other genders in society. This would be instrumental in solving the various gender related problems that the society is presently experiencing.

Also, Haste (1994 98) argues that dualism has led in to creation of four types of women. All four categories are defined by strong cultural myths and beliefs. She asserts that this presents a coping mechanism devised by men and it seeks to highlight the role and position of women in the society. They include the wife, whore, witch and waif. The wife is considered sexually dependent on men and therefore is not a source of threat on the wellbeing of men. Haste refers to her as being sexually receptive to mens advances (Haste, 1994 98). Her role in the society is entirely for reproduction and she can be easily controlled by men. Then, the waif is also a sexual being who is made vulnerable by the existence of men in the society. She is very vulnerable and powerless in respect to sexuality and this makes her even more appeasing to men. The vulnerability and powerlessness makes her seek male protection and therefore be controlled by the same.

The whore is also presented as a sexual being but unlike the waif and the wife, she is not obsessed about her sexuality. She is sexual only because she gives in to the demands of men. Thus men continue being in control of her in this regard. Finally, the witch according to the cultural setting is faced with a myriad of problems. It is because she has sexual autonomy and cannot be controlled by men. She is presented as being very powerful and uses her power to always have her way. Thus Lara Croft in this regard falls under the category of a witch. It is because this woman is independent of men and empowered both physically and intellectually to deal with emergent problems with ease. Mikula (2003 83) also notes that men feel uncomfortable interacting with her as initially, she could not be easily controlled. The criminal justice system exemplifies such women as those in high positions like the judges and lord justices. This further explains why as indicated by the Home Office (2003 48), such female practitioners are quite few. Notably, the lord justices are only 8 of the overall staff, high court judges are only 6 whereas female circuit judges make up only 10  of the entire judiciary and magisterial staff.

1.5.2 Chivalry and Paternalism Hypotheses
Various theories have been increasingly employed in the past to define the gender difference in the criminal justice system. It is certain that gender differences are manifested in the decision making process of the system. Conventionally, the males have often been accorded a harsher treatment than their female counterparts Nevertheless, in some instances women offenders are given an unfair treatment than the male offenders. Chivalry and Paternalism hypotheses have been employed in explaining the reasons for these disparities. The former hypothesis is associated with the tradition perception that considers women as defendants. As such, they are accorded a fairer judgment than their male counterparts. In addition, this conception perceives women as fragile and dependent individuals who cannot engage in crime without male influence. From this standpoint, women are basically considered powerless beings that can not make autonomous decisions. Much as they are accorded leniency, Bridges and Martha (1994 35) consider the influence of demeaning perspectives as what accounts for this.

From the paternalism viewpoint, women are believed to be emotional and childlike in nature. As such, it is contended that they cannot be held fully accountable for their behaviors and actions. This is regardless of the fact that the actions andor behaviors may be criminal in nature. Instead, it is posited that they need to be protected by the males just like children. Thus the judges and other legal decision makers accord the women a lenient sentence on the basis of their sexual weakness. Unlike chivalry, paternalism can in some cases impose strict and severe sanctions to female members of the society with the aim of restricting them to the traditional and submissive roles. Leniency in this regard is greatly influenced by the behavior of women. In particular, studies indicate that women in such cases are rewarded with leniency if they are submissive. However, those who contravene the societal norms are given a more severe punishment than the males.

This contention is supported by the evil women hypothesis. This contends that the female members of the society that behave in an unladylike manner should be punished more severely for breaking the social, cultural and legal norms (Erez, 1992 107). In order to avoid such instances, Erez (1992 113) shows that women need to assume their cultural position in the society. In particular they need to be respectable, passive and submissive. Those who contravene the same by manifesting aggression and toughness are perceived to be lowly and are punished severely.

Considering the fact that these assumptions influence decision making at different levels of the criminal justice system it can be argued that they greatly undermine the wellbeing of the women in the society. By restraining the behavior of the women to submission, Bridges and Martha (199442) note that women are deprived of a chance to explore their potential. In addition, it can be argued that the influence of these perceptions compromise the credibility of the decisions made by the officials in the criminal justice system.

1.6 Research Questions
The following Questions were considered during the undertaking of this study
How does Lara croft mirror the criminal justice system in terms of inequality
How does video gaming mirror the criminal justice system in terms of inequality
What measures can be undertaken to address inequality in the criminal justice system from a feminist view point

2.1 Introduction
The criminal justice system is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that all segments of the society are accorded a fair treatment. The pronounced gender disparities exhibited by the UKs criminal justice system undermine the efforts geared towards achieving this goal. Remarkably, affirmative action and other relative efforts that have been undertaken in the past to bridge this gap have not been fruitful. It is vital to analyze these weak areas in order to underscore various inconsistencies that could undermine any future efforts.

2.2 Inequalities in the Criminal Justice System
The gender disparities are also discernible in the UK criminal Justice system. Despite the passing of the Legislation regarding equal representation at the work place studies indicate that minimal efforts have been done to ensure that the same is enforced in the criminal justice system (Poole, 2000). As such, the number of female officials in the criminal justice system is still lower than that of male representatives. This has had different repercussions to the wellbeing of women in the system. In her report, Corston argues that these disparities have disadvantaged both women offenders and victims (Home Office, 2007).

In his study, Poole (2000) found out that discrimination of women in the criminal justice system in the UK is pronounced. For instance, he indicates that in the women police officers are given the same uniform as their male counterparts. Often, this has a similar collar size and does not have an allowance to suit the female body. This indicates that even the smallest women concerns are not put into consideration and it is a clear indication that they are discriminated against. In addition, studies indicate that women officials are seldom given a chance to assume high profile positions in the force. For instance, statistics show that only 12 of women in the UK have the chief inspector grade. Further, they indicate that less than a quarter of the women in the force are prison governors (Hargrave and Livingstone (2006 60)

In addition, Dietz (1998 67) cites that the attitude that women offenders are accorded during trial greatly influences the sentence that they are given by the courts. In particular, it is indicated that when dealing with cases regarding violence against women and especially sexual assault, women are considered perpetrators rather than victims. Such presumptions are based upon the cultural expectations about how women need to dress and behave in the society. Thus in the long run, the actual perpetrator of the crime is left free and innocent victims punished.

Women offenders who end up in prisons face a myriad of problems. To begin with, Hargrave and Livingstone (2006 62) indicate that the correctional facilities for women are not enough to cater for the rising number of female offenders. Further, the system exhibits a great degree of bias when addressing cases that involve theft, fraud and women. In this regard, it is posited that women in such cases are likely to be found guilty, unless the scenario is characterized by violence (Dietz, 1998 68). In prisons, the increasing number of women being reported to have mental disorders is disturbing. In this respect, Corston indicates that more women than men kill themselves while in prison (Home Office, 2007). This can be attributed to the worries that engulf women prisoners that are remanded and held in the same area as their male counterparts. Gunn et al (1994 22) concurs with this claim and adds that in reality mental disorders have been increasingly known to be associated with female offenders.

The increasing incidences of sexual abuse as a result is a concrete reason that increases the anxiety of women offenders and makes them suffer from mental disorders. In addition, the proportion of women prisoners who physically harm themselves supersedes that of male prisoners. Bright (2004) reported of the rising female suicide rates in U.K prisons which is mostly credited to dismal conditions in women prisons. Of great concern however is the fact that most women prisoners are more likely to fall victims of sexual abuse. Such crimes are perpetrated by the male prisoners as well as the prison officials.

With regard to female victims, Kinder (1991 51) indicates that most of the cases related to domestic violence and rape are not often reported in a timely manner. Further, such cases are in most instances dropped especially when the perpetrator is known to the victim. This is contributed to by a number of factors. To begin with, Berger (2002 89) points out that the environment at the police station is always intimidating for women. This is due to the fact that most officers are men. It therefore becomes very difficult for the rape victims to express themselves with ease. In some cases, some victims do not report the cases because fear of the intimidating environment. Then, Bremck, Henning, Killen, OConnor and Collins (2007 402) ascertain that some rape and domestic violence cases are dropped because of poor communication between the police and the victims. Again, this is attributed to the differences in gender.

The lack of sufficient representation in the criminal justice system has also led to an increase in the number of female prisoners. In this regard, Ogletree and Drake (2007 539) show that most of the lawyers are male. The inherent differences in communication between the two genders undermine the possibility of a fair representation in the courts. This is further compounded by the harsh judgements that the judges accord women offenders. Miller and Summers (2007 739) explains that in order to enhance justice, women need to be represented by female lawyers and the judgement needs to be undertaken from a feminist perspective.

Statistics indicate that more than ever, women are being increasingly imprisoned for short periods of time for committing non violent crimes. In this regard, it is certain that the sentencing procedure is biased against women. At this juncture, it should be appreciated that imprisonment has far reaching implications on the holistic wellbeing of women. As such, alternative forms of punishment for such crimes need to be employed. Significantly so, a report by the Prison Reform Trust (2009) called for the reduction of female imprisonments arguing that most women had not committed such serious crimes and that they were not a threat to the society. Further, statistics show that most of the minority women make misguided decisions that often make the end up in jail. In her report, Kent (2002 112) laments that such women are often not given sufficient legal advice. Considering the fact that they do not understand the legal procedures, they end up pledging guilty for some offenses that they did not commit. In addition, Kinder (1991 52) shows that they are often given limited time with their legal advisers. This denies them a chance to learn more about the system in order to avoid falling in traps.
In addition, Kent (2002112) shows that most of the prison officers are male. In particular, it is ascertained that only one third of the prison officers are women. As indicated earlier, the increased number of rape and other forms of sexual abuse in prisons are partly perpetrated by prison officers. Further, Burgess, Stermer and Burgess (2007 426) point out that during transportation of prisoners, female offenders are transported in the same vans with their male counterparts. In some cases, female prisoners are dropped at male prisons for some time. Burgess et al (2007429) shows that this makes the female prisoners uncomfortable because of lack of female facilities at such points.
Limited correctional facilities have had detrimental effects on the wellbeing of women offenders. In this regard, Corston indicates that women prisoners are usually located in places that are geographically far from their homes than their male counterparts (Home Office, 2007). This has adverse effects on the family ties as it limits the number of visits by relatives. In addition, this makes it difficult for the women prisoners to interact with their community. Ultimately, it undermines sustainable reintegration of the same in their communities on completion of their terms.

Compared to the health status of the male prisoners, female correctional facilities have been cited to have limited mental health services. This is also highlighted by the Corston report that ascertains that there are a significant percentage of female prisoners who are mentally incapacitated. The fact that they are allowed to share facilities and mingle with the rest of the prisoners puts the latter at risk. In addition, Thompson (2002 77) indicates that the women who are mentally unstable may not be a threat to the public but they are a threat to their own wellbeing. Further, he argues that women offenders with mental problems are not given the same treatment as their male counterparts. This according to him explains the presence of the mentally challenged women in correctional facilities. In particular, it is indicated that they are accorded an unfair prison sentence. Barlet and Harris (2008 91) argue that this can be attributed to the gendered traditional perceptions that disadvantage women.
Further, Lee (2004 58) shows that a significant 45 of women who are released from jails often lack housing and accommodation. Relevant authorities fail to effectively plan for this before their release. This situation is further compounded by a lack of safety planning before their release. As such, they are exposed to various risk factors that make them vulnerable to re offending. In this respect, Lee (2004 65) indicates that unsafe living conditions make such women return to their previous abusive and unsafe living conditions. In his review, Thompson (2002 88) notes that women officers in the criminal justice system always receive a lower pay than their male counterparts who perform similar duties. This is not only demoralizing but also demeaning. In addition, he indicates that they are not given equal chances to promotions and salary increments. This is based on the misguided recognition that women officers and especially those in the police force are not exposed to similar work environments than their male counterparts.

2.3 The Role of Lara Croft
Lara is an ideal woman who is intelligent, tough and self reliant. She has an outgoing and ambitious character that places her way above the present day perception of women. In addition, she is feminine and these features keep men attracted to her. Taylor (2000 148) indicates that she upholds a British culture and embraces modernism in pursuit of power and fame. Studies consider her a heroine and assert that this is exemplified by her class, physical fitness, strong will, wealth, intelligence, appearance and independence (Mikula, 2003 83). This ideal combination of desirable characteristics that Lara is presented with makes her win the hearts of both men and women. While men consider her a male fantasy, women perceive her to have an ideal character that if assumed would enable them to address their problems accordingly.

Seligmann, Starr, Gideonse and Figueroa (1998 55) also indicate that Lara can easily manoeuvre her way trough dangerous scenarios with ease. It is worth noting that the environments such as the wilderness and tombs have always been considered masculine because of the challenges that they present to the persons that come in contact with them. The fact that Lara survives in such environments with ease contravenes the traditional belief that women are emotional and weak (Chandiramani, 2003 13). Unlike most of the women, Lara can easily use the gun for self defence. Again, this is in stark contrast of the contention that women largely depend on men for protection. Notably, Lara can use the weapon effectively during violence. It is indicated that the presence and survival of Lara in masculine environments is quite disturbing (Jansz  Martis, 2007 143). This is because of the fact that traditionally, women who appear in such environments are often victims of violence or those seeking love and protection. Contrary to this contention, Lara is presented as a self reliant and independent woman who can protect her self accordingly (Electronic Gaming Monthly, 2004112).

In his review of Tomb Raider, Taylor (199950) ascertains that during video gaming, the player interacts directly with the characters and further derives a narcissistic satisfaction with ideal players. Typically, the gamer determines the actions of the player. This enhances interactivity as the gamer moulds the characters to assume his or her ideal roles. The relationship between object and subject in incidences where a male gamer assumes the role of Lara thus becomes transgender. In this respect, Mikula (2003 80) indicate that the fusion of the male characters with the feminine ideals of Lara can be confusing. This is due to the fact that it undermines the traditional role of men in video gaming. In other words, Admedia (19997) shows that the urge of the male gamers to assume Laras attributes may be undermined by her status with her gender. In a society that is characterized by significant gender polarities, Lara presents a state of confusion with regard to identification of gamers with a character and the inherent desire of a gamer to assume the role of a character (Kennedy, 2002 5). This according to Kennedy (2002 6) destabilizes the masculinity and threatens the position of men in the society.

However, Walkland (200356) indicates that this threat is countered by the identification of Lara as an object of sexual fantasy. This is attributed to the extreme feminine features that characterize Lara. At this point in time, it can be ascertained that despite the fact that Lara has increasingly been employed by feminists as a model, the male gamers always find a countering assumption to further their status in the society. According to Lee (2004 31), this implies that efforts to attain the desirable state of independence and self reliance are bound to face opposition from the male segment of the society. Fundamentally, this opposition is inclined in the current policies, laws and legislations that favour male dominance. Numerous female gamers identify with Lara and perceive her as an ideal female. They identify with the inherent strength, independence and intellect that characterize Lara. As indicated earlier, Lara is used to ascertain that females can exhibit exemplary performance in different scenarios. They only need a chance to show that they can really achieve this goal. Notably, the answer to this is inclined in the capacity to unmask the traditional logos that perceive men as being superior in the society.

Also, the introduction of Lara in the video gaming industry had various implications on women in general. Not only did it strengthen the women to fight for their rightful position in the society, but it also increased the participation of women in video games. Mikula (2003 86) affirms this and indicates that since its introduction, the number of women participating in video games has significantly increased. Arguably, the creation of Lara was a gateway to increased participation of women in the video gaming industry. Unlike men who would prefer controlling Lara, women prefer being Lara. This is because of the idyllic qualities that she presents.

In his review, Seligmann et al. (1998 55) shows that the departure of Toby Gard who was the creator of Lara led to the refashioning of Lara. In subsequent productions, she was designed as being more aggressive and having a greater sex appeal that the original Lara. At this juncture, it can be argued that the creation Lara led to the exploration of the video gaming industry and the expansion of the same beyond the previous horizons. In this regard, Mikula (2003 86) indicates that most of the productions that came after the Tomb raider have increasingly incorporated females in their games. In addition, female themes are also explored in the video games. Of great importance is the fact that female characters are increasingly being accorded heroic positions in most video games. This change according to Lancaster (2004 84) stems from the realization that women also have the power and strength to assume dominant positions in the society. Seemingly, this conception is in line with the targets of the feminist movement.

2.4 Inequalities in Video Gaming
Since historical times, Reiner (2006 63) ascertains that video gaming has always been dominated by male characters. In his analysis of the covers of video games, he found out that 89 percent of the covers had male characters. Male domination has also been manifested through the enhancement of male oriented themes such as violence and war. In his widespread research in London Stores, Olfman (200954) found out that almost all of the themes presented by the video were male oriented. Further, he ascertained that that only six percent of the analyzed video games had themes that could be considered feminine. The marketing department of this industry ascertains this by indicating that females fear violence and therefore such themes are mostly designed for male gamers. Moreover, Cassel and Jenkins (1998 65) show that most of the video games have male characters in dominant position. In cases where females are employed in the same, they usually assume inferior roles. In these, they depend upon the protection of males for survival. Further, Barlet and Harris (2008 43) note that even in instances where females are incorporated in the games, males often assume heroic positions.

In his critical review, Thompson (2002 67) notes a relationship between video gaming and the assumptions made by the criminal justice system with regard to crime. The assumptions that males are the main perpetrators of crime are based upon a host of theories. To begin with, Thompson (2002 68) shows that the masculine nature of the males gives them a dominant position in the society and therefore conceives women as victims rather than perpetrators of crime. According to Sherry (200125), this assumption is also based on the realization that unlike women, men are more likely to engage in crime as a result of increased involvement in violent video games.

2.5 Violent Behaviour and Video Gaming
The relationship between violent behaviour and video games has been explicitly explored by different medical and psychological studies in the recent past. In their analysis, Anderson and Bushman (2001354) ascertain that consistent exposure to violence through the media makes the children perceive the same as a viable form of conflict resolution. In most media exposures, Lee (2004 34) laments that violence is justified and perpetrators are considered very powerful. In fact, they are greatly admired by the gamers. The interactive nature of video gaming provides these children with a chance to practically interact with the violent scenarios. In most cases, the respective child gamers initiate the violence and participate in the same actively (Beasles and Standley, 2002). Persistent exposure to this makes the children assume the character and appreciate that it can be used in conflict resolution. This is further compounded by their urge to identify with the characters that win the game.
The consistent exposure to violence through video games has various implications on the psychological wellbeing of children as well as adolescents. In particular, it leads to development of aggressive behaviour, fear, sleep disorder, depression and desensitization to violence (Bushman, 2001 335). Since children usually learn by observing and imitating, they end up assuming the characters observed in the media. Emergent research indicates that video games enhance the violence, retaliation, sexual abuse, drug use and abuse and isolation in adolescents (Gentile et al. 2007 42). For instance Anderson and Bushman (2001352) found out that the teen boys that identified themselves with violent characters in video games were also violent and very aggressive to the extent of blasting their opponents with extreme noise levels of which they believed had the capacity to cause hearing damage.

Their interactive nature enables the children and adolescents to rehearse the entire script that goes through the stages of provocation, making choices to respond in a violent manner and resolving to conflict. In addition, Karen (2003 71) argues that the video games tend to have an addictive effect that makes the adolescents and children to have the urge to play it over and over. This only leads to mastery of the violent tactics depicted in the same. For example, Bushman (2001 333)  conducted a survey for two years and found out that  that in cases where a car racing game provided rewards to the players for their violent activities, the rewarded gamers were more likely to attack their opponents, to attract more rewards in future than when the car racing game punished the gamers for aggression.

Recently, Sherry (2001 56) indicates that there has been an increased interest amongst policy makers regarding the control of the content in the video games as a fundamental step to curb violence and crime. As indicated earlier, substantial evidence by psychological studies assert that there is a potential link between violent, criminal behaviour and violent video games. Essentially, the inherent violence in video games has the capacity to induce violence in gamers beyond the video games. In particular, Lee (2004 77) ascertains that they tend to heighten the emotional as well as physical reactions that are related to anti social behaviour and violence.  These have also been affirmed by the economic theory that suggests that it is possible for an individual to develop a proclivity for real violence as a result of consistent exposure to virtual violence. According to this model, this stems from accumulation of a certain human capital stock that tends to increase the level of consumption that is required to generate a specific utility level presented by rational addiction models (Anderson  Bushman, 2001). Gamers that lack access to specific game consoles that are required to counter the violent effect of virtual violence tend to engage in criminal and other forms of violence outside the virtual environment.

Alternatively, Riffe, Lacy and Fico (1998 67) argue that virtual violence has the capacity to reduce an individuals marginal utility from future violent activities. In this respect, it is argued that if real and virtual violence can be substitutes, persistent consumption of virtual violence would decrease an individual capacity of engaging in actual violence. If this school of thought holds, a gamer is expected to exhibit enhanced physical and emotional responses that are related to the game immediately after participating in the same. This experience according to Riffe et al. (1998 73) serves to diminish the gamers demand for violence, whether virtual or real. However, Sherry (2001 59) ascertains that this has not been proven and if true, it could be undesirable because of its negative implications on formulation of possible intervention measures.

Arguably, it is plausible that the violent video games are very attractive to naturally violent individuals. Irrespective of the fact that violent video games cause an individual to become violent, it can be a viable substitute for more violent activities that such an individual is likely to  engage in. In the long run, this goes a long way in reducing the level of violence. In this respect, it is indicated that voluntary incapacitation around the time of the showing of violent movies reduces crimes in the short run (Thompson, 2002 69).  Furthermore, a study conducted by Beasles and Standley (2002 393) indicated that the number of rape cases decreased significantly when on line pornography was availed to sexual offenders. Thus it can be ascertained that video game related violence can be reduced if the violent individuals are allowed to spend most of their time playing the games. At this juncture, it can be concluded that violent games do not only lead to violent outcomes, but they also reduce violence by substituting the violent activities  with the amount of time spend playing the video games.
This contention is also affirmed by Weber (2006) who argues that video games can not be entirely blamed for the increasing incidences of violence. Using his catharsis hypothesis model, Weber (2006) indicates that consistent watching andor playing of violent video games purges the viewers and or players frustrations and makes them release their aggressive behaviours.  He predicts that video gamers tend to experience lowered aggression after playing the game. Thus he suggests that video games can be a viable form of therapy to angry patients.

Despite these assertions, the empirical evidence that supports the relationship between violence, criminal activities and video games is significant. Particularly, video games decrease pro social behaviours, increase physiological arousal, violence and aggressive behaviours and feelings and enhance aggressive thoughts.  The theoretical evidence associated with this is also a clear indication that violent video games contribute significantly to violent behaviour.

2.6 Addressing Inequalities
From the analysis, it can be ascertained that the challenges that women in the criminal justice system face are wide and varied. In order to enhance justice and ensure that every segment of the society receives a fair treatment, the government needs to start by reviewing the treatment that women within the criminal justice system are accorded. This would then pave the way for reviewing other forms of injustices that the minority are exposed to.

The disparities in the video gaming industry have also impacted upon the criminal justice system in many ways. It is certain that this has greatly influenced the perception of crime within the society. The realization that the themes presented in the video games are violent and influence the development of children and adolescents is definitely an issue that needs to be addressed accordingly. In addition, the impacts of unequal representation of women in the judicial justice system have led to various challenges that are presently faced by the female offender as well as victims. In order to counter this and enhance justice within the society, there is need to review the policies and legislations that are presently employed in governance.

To begin with, Bryant and Vorderer (2006 36) indicate that there is need to ensure that women are given a chance to participate actively in policy formulation, implementation and enforcement. Only then will their needs be incorporated in the entire process. This representation should be encouraged in all sectors of the society, including the criminal justice system. In particular, measures need to be undertaken to ensure that that there are sufficient female police officers and other official such as lawyers and judges that represent the rights of women in the criminal justice system (Home Office, 2007). This would ensure that female offenders and victims are given a fair representation and that their needs are addressed accordingly.

With regard to crime and the relative assumptions and stereotypes, Cassel and Jenkins (1998 76) suggest that a holistic approach needs to be assumed when addressing crime. This would be in line with the feminist criminology perspective that argues that understanding crime requires that it be analyzed from a multifaceted perspective. In particular, all aspects of the crime need to be evaluated in order to come up with sustainable assumptions regarding the causes, effects and prevention of the same. Notably, this informed basement is critical in solving the inherent challenges regarding crime by relevant stakeholders.

Regarding correctional facilities, Bryant and Vorderer (2006 37) propose that more female prisons need to be build and distributed accordingly within the UK. This is because of the fact that the rate of female offenders has increased significantly in the recent past. This would be instrumental in avoiding incidences of rape and sexual abuse that are related to mixing of female and male prisoners. Then, the prisons need to be equipped with sufficient sanitary facilities (Stanely  Wise, 1993). In addition, they should be led by female officials who understand the needs of women. Prison officers in this also need to be female to avoid incidences of sexual harassment of female prisoners.

The contribution of video gaming to crime also needs to be dealt with accordingly. According to Beasles and Standley (2002 377-8), this requires collaboration between the children, care takers, parents, media industry and the criminal justice system. Particular attention needs to be given to the content of the video games to ensure that it reflects the values upheld by the society. In addition, parents need to asses the content and determine its suitability for children (Cassel  Jenkins, 1998 88). Also, Edgar (2004 67) contends that there is need to restrict the participation of children in video games in order to curb addiction that stems from consistent exposure.

There is also need for intensive awareness creation reading the implications of violent video games to the behavioural development of children. Vital information according to Griffiths (200540) can be relayed through the media and the education system. This is because of the frequent exposure of the children to these two systems and the high level of influence that they have n their choices. This would go a long way in altering the attitudes of the children towards the violence and video games. In addition, Karen (2003 66) suggests that the law enforcement agencies need to ensure that persons contravening this are punished accordingly. Seemingly, this can only be achieved if viable laws pertaining to content of the media are formulated, implemented and enforced accordingly.

3.1 Introduction
An understanding of the methodology is important in developing a study whose findings are acceptable to existing social systems. It is important that the research be designed in a manner that is appreciative of the role played by accuracy in ensuring that the findings of a research are acceptable. A presentation of the methodology that was used in the study is the main goal of this chapter.

3.2 Research Design
Enforcement of equal representation within the society has not been easy because of the fact that gender polarities are strongly embedded within the society. In this regard, it is worth acknowledging that most policies, legislations and rules are formulated and enforced by men who assume a great percentage of leadership positions. It is for this reason that most activists argue that the society is designed by men for men. Indeed, these disparities are also manifest in the criminal justice system of the UK that is charged with the responsibility of enhancing the rights of all individuals.
Fro the feminist point of vie, Lara is a symbolic representation of womens success regarding equal representation. The methodology employed for this study was qualitative in nature. In particular, the use of discussion boards was employed to provide vital information regarding the contribution of Lara croft and video gaming in bringing to the fore the gender based inequalities in the judicial justice system.

3.3 Research Method
May (2001 66) amply demonstrates that a viable research method needs to uphold a high level of specificity and accuracy. This implies that the tools employed in the collection of data need to be appropriate. This ensures that data collected is relevant and in line with the objectives of the study. Consequently, analysis of the data would help to address the specific needs of the research. Owing to the nature of the video gaming industry and the possibility of failing to get reliable respondents, this study used discussion boards to locate viable respondents. This then enabled the researcher to distribute questionnaires and get responses accordingly.

3.4 Research Approach and Population Sample
After an analysis of the viable methods of data collection, this study decided to employ discussions and questionnaires through gaming forums. This was because of the realization that use of the questionnaires alone would undermine the rate of response. In order to validate the data collected, respondents were randomly picked from the forum and contacted through personal messaging system. In this, they were requested to review the researchers posting on the forum and respond accordingly. In addition, they were requested to request their friends to review the posting too. This created a snowball effect, ensuring that the data collected was sufficient and came from credible sources. The discussion on the forum was also very resourceful. Information got from both sources were merged and contrasted with that information provided in the literature review in order to provide a general picture regarding how Lara Croft and video gaming mirror the inequalities in the criminal justice system.

All respondents that answered all questions were included in the sampling frame and used in analysis. The inclusion of all respondents in the sampling frame was out of need to improve on the levels of representation of the data and to capture the varied views and thus develop a picture that was representative of what gamers view as issues involved in the research question. A total of 100 questionnaires were analyzed. Although the initial aim was to have an equal representation of both male and female gamers, this was not possible because of the fact that the industry was male dominated. Therefore, only thirty questionnaires were filled by female respondents.

3.5 Questionnaire Design
The questionnaire was an important tool used in data collection and therefore its design played an important role in determining the response rate. It is apparent that the nature of the questionnaire plays an important role and it was imperative to ensure that its content and requirements were understood by respondents. The following are some of the key considerations that were employed in designing the questionnaire

Readability Though the target population is made up of experts in the video gaming industry who have knowledge on the technical language used in the same, the language that was used in the study was appreciative of the possibility that most may not have this ability. Simple language construction helped ensure readability of the questions.

Time It was appreciated that video gamers may lack sufficient time to respond to the questions. As such, only pertinent issues were included in the questionnaire and its length was restricted to one page. This reduced the input that was required of respondents and therefore played a role in providing a suitable condition for high response rates.

Structure A questionnaire as a literary piece is affected by its internal structure mainly the length of the sentences and the level of interconnection between various areas of the questionnaire. Interdependence between the parts of the questionnaires was kept low just as the length of the sentences. The structure was an important variable in determining the levels of understanding that respondents would attain in discerning the content of the questionnaire and was therefore an important variable in ensuring informed consent and accuracy of data collected.

Privacy Privacy is an important factor in determining the level of openness with which a respondent will engage in a research. This factor greatly affects the levels of accuracy that can be attained and was sought by the questionnaire design. Questions relating to personal information are omitted from the questionnaires. This ensured that the subjects freely express their viewpoints. Anonymity was employed to allow the respondents to be more generous with the truth.

Closed and open Questions Both open and closed questions were used in the research to ensure pre-set issues were addressed while providing flexibility required for gain of insight on areas in this given study (Levine, 2005 68).

3.6 Data Analysis
Analysis of the data assumed a quantitative and qualitative approach and involved other descriptive and inferential analysis. Data was summarized according to the variables presented in the research questions. It is worth noting that under the research approach, it was assumed that the observations made in the sample were reflective of the overall video games. Use of the tables and graphs that summarized and represented the data visually aided in the development of a clear picture with regard to how Lara croft and video gaming mirrors the inequalities in the criminal justice system. The findings were inferred for the overall population within the defined experimental frame.

3.7 Variables
The dependent variable was Lara croft and video gaming whereas the independent variables were crime and gender inequalities in the criminal justice system. It should be appreciated that the independent variables affect the influence the dependent variable in various ways.

4.1 Introduction
Presentation of results plays an important role in ensuring that they are easily understood and is an avenue through which research findings can aid in developing a deeper understanding of a problem.  Analysis and discussion on the other hand play important roles in ensuring that the research addresses the study questions.  This chapter presents the result, analysis and discussions with the sole aim of ensuring that the objectives and the questions that the study seeks are addressed.
4.2 Results
One hundred and eighteen questionnaires were filled and returned by the respondents. Of these, eighteen were poorly filed and the remaining one hundred were forwarded for analysis. 30 of the one hundred questionnaires were filled by women and the remaining 70 filled by the male respondents. With regard to dominance in the video industry, as significant 94 of the respondents affirmed that the industry was dominated by men, only 5 thought that women dominated and 1 was not sure. Then, regarding Lara croft and the role she plays in bringing to the fore the gender inequalities, 82 of the population indicate that Lara Croft was instrumental in furthering feminism, 10 thought that Lara exhibited male dominance because of the masculinity associated with the character while 8 were not sure.

The impact of Lara croft in video gaming presented exciting results. 68 of the population affirmed that since its introduction, the video industry has undergone various changes and female themes are increasingly being explored. However, 30 argued that the industry is still being dominated by men and minimal changes have occurred since the introduction of Lara Croft. Concerning the contribution of video gaming to violence and crime, 71 of the population agreed that consistent exposure to video gaming is likely to contribute to violence especially in adolescents. 20 felt that video gaming was just fun and had no implications on the development of behavioural disorder. The remaining 9 were unaware of the relationship between video gaming and violence.

With regard to gender disparities in the criminal justice system, 57 of the population affirmed that women are underrepresented in the criminal justice system. 40 contended that women are a minority and therefore, their under representation should not raise any concerns. The remaining 3 felt that both genders were equally represented in the criminal justice system. Further probing resulted to 63 of the population affirming that there is an urgent need to undertake counter measures in order to enhance equal representation in the criminal justice system. 20 did not see any need of affirmative action because they felt that women already had a fair representation in the criminal justice system.

4.3 Discussion
The results indicate that women are still underrepresented in the video gaming industry. It is clear from the outset as only 30 of the entire population was represented by women. As indicated in the literature review, this is attributed to various factors that range from the prevalence of violent these in the video games to the inferior roles that women play in the same. This is further compounded by the traditional perception that women are accorded in the society. This presumption is also affirmed by a significant percentage of the population that ascertains that the video gaming industry is dominated by men.

The introduction of Lara Croft in the video gaming industry also had various implications on the video gamers. A significant percentage of the population agree that Lara plays a critical role in enhancing feminism. Notably all gamers are aware of the Tomb Raider because of this unique characteristic. In addition, this study shows that the entire population appreciates her presence in the industry. Since the introduction of the Lara, most gamers acknowledge that the themes in video gaming have undergone various changes. This can be attributed to an increase in the number of female gamers in the industry. Most games have incorporated feminine aspects in their themes and increasingly, women are being accorded recognition within this context.

Further, a great percentage of the population ascertains that the violence in the video games contributes significantly to the development of deviance behaviour amongst the children and youth. This complements the previous findings that have been undertaken by medical and psychological studies. In this respect, it has been ascertained that the interactive nature of the video games makes the children identify themselves with the violent characters presented therein. In addition, it is indicated that the consistent exposure of children to this content makes them to have an urge to develop the skills to initiate conflicts and fight there way through so that they can earn more points. Studies indicate that such children often develop mental disorders as well as insensitivity that make have a tendency of perpetrating crime. Criminal records ascertain this by indicating that most cases of juvenile delinquency are influence by active participation in violent video games.

Also, it is certain that there are gender disparities in the criminal justice system. As indicated in the results, a significant percentage of the population asserts that the gender differences are inherent and women are on the receiving end. This is very disadvantageous as it contributes to the suffering of women. In this respect, 66 of the population contends that measures need to be undertaken to increase the representation of women in the society. This would go a long way in enhancing justice and ensuring that women are treated fairly by the criminal justice system.

5.1 Introduction
At this juncture, it is worth acknowledging that women are a minority within the criminal justice system. Fundamentally, they face various challenges that stem from the negative traditional perceptions that the society accords them. Thus they experience a myriad of problems both as officials of the criminal justice system, as workers, victims and as offenders. The findings of the study complement those in the literature review by ascertaining that the inequalities depicted in the gaming industry are replicated in the criminal justice system too.

5.2 Conclusion
From the research, it is certain that the gender disparities are ingrained in the present society. This is ascertained by the dominance of men in the video gaming industry as well as the criminal justice system. It is also clear that significant efforts have increasingly been made in the past to counter the situation. Indeed, the efforts made by the feminist movement in fighting for equal representation of women in the society can not be overlooked. It is also certain that various challenges have undermined these efforts. Of great concern in this regard is the realization that the gender disparities are deeply embedded in the society. As such, efforts to counter this and achieve optimal and sustainable results need to be multifaceted. Persistence would also ensure that the ultimate goal is met. The introduction of Lara in the video gaming industry has been considered a major breakthrough for the feminist movement. Lara is the representation of an ideal woman. Implications of her introduction have been wide and varied but most importantly, they have contributed positively towards achieving gender equity.

Seemingly, crime has been given an engendered perspective. From the analysis, it is clear that the criminal justice system perceive men to be the main perpetrators of crime. This has further been compounded by statistics that show that more men than women engage in violent crime. Violence in this regard is attributed to the masculine nature and the consistent involvement in violent video games. Further, it has been ascertained that women are also under represented in the criminal justice system. This has contributed significantly to the unfair treatment that they are accorded by the system. In order to counter the situation and ensure that justice and equality are attained in all segments of the society, several recommendations that are based upon a clear understanding of the scenario have been put forth by the study.

5.3 Recommendations
Previous recommendations regarding gender inequalities in the criminal justice system have yielded minimal results. As a result, the gender disparities in the system are still apparent and women are still on the receiving end. Notably, implementation and enforcement of the same has been undermined by lack of political will. Sufficient resources have reportedly been allocated to ensure that the recommendations are effected but this has not been achieved. Thus in order to enhance their implementation and ensure that they are accorded priority, there is need to review the composition of the body appointed to overlook the process.

In this regard, it is imperative to ensure that the body is comprised of professionals who have the ability and will to deliver optimal results. Nobody will possibly be able to carry this out in a more effective manner than the women professionals. It is because they understand the issues related to women and are trained to handle the same with expertise. More so, this would enable the system to acquire the fundamental goal of equal representation at various levels in the society that was proposed by the Corston report.

In her report, Corton suggests that sentencing of women offenders should be redesigned and tailored to address the specific needs of the women. The recognition that the number of women in prisons accused of minor offences and therefore serving minor short sentences of less than six months is disturbing. Thus it is recommended that custodial remands and sentences for any form of crime be restricted to violent offenders and serious crimes. Minor crimes should be accorded alternative and more benign forms of punishment such as community service. This will ensure that women offenders perform their roles as mothers while serving their terms. In addition, the safety of custody areas for women needs to be improved and made drug free. This would enhance their rehabilitation and overall health status. Further, before sentencing women offenders, full psychiatric reports need to be provided and approved by the relevant authorities. This will ensure that the mental status of women offenders is assessed and sustainable and effective interventions undertaken prior to sentencing.
Also, women offenders need to be provided with sufficient health facilities and services. Initiatives for these provisions need to be all inclusive ranging from dietary needs to mental health and sanitation. With regard to sanitation, it is indicated that the women offenders should be provided with a wide range of sanitary facilities like razor blades and creams. In addition, they should be allowed to have a bath frequently and ablution blocks should be separated from sinks used for washing utensils. In addition, health services should be provided at all stages of the criminal justice system, from arrest to resettlement in the community. Corston also recommended that strip searching of women offenders for drugs and other illegal items should be kept to a minimum. Instead, it should be replaced with pilot ion scan machines (Home office, 2007).

In order to boost their moral and effectiveness while on duty, women officers need to be given an equal chance like their male counterparts to access promotions, education scholarships and salary increments. This is because of the fact that they are exposed to similar work related risks as the male officials. This study recommends that women should be given incentives in form of education scholarships to further legal studies. This would be instrumental in increasing the representation of women in the criminal justice system. Also, vacancies in the criminal justice systems should be availed to women in order to ensure that the minority groups in the society are well represented.
With regard to cases concerning sexual assault and rape issues, this study recommends that all police departments should offer specialized training to a segment of the officers to deal with rape issues accordingly. This training should also mainstream investigation of rape cases. This is in a bit to ensure that the perpetrators are apprehended and punished accordingly. Of great importance is to train the police frontline staff regarding sexual and rape offences. This would go a long way in providing a viable environment that encourages rather than forbids reporting of rape cases.


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