The Research Council of Lithuania has provided funding for the research “Defeminised criminal justice: female offenders’ penalties and their experiences of punishment”, performed by The Law Institute of Lithuania. The project is implemented in consortium with other partners – Cambridge Institute of Criminology and Vytautas Magnus University.

For a long time the crime rate of female offenders, accounting for one tenth of all official data on registered crimes, has been at the margins of both research and criminal policy. Although according to the statistics no significant changes in women's crime were recorded, the repressiveness against women offenders over the last 15 years has increased both in Lithuania and abroad. In a global context, women‘s prison population has doubled during this period. Therefore, the problem of female criminal behavior and the state's response to women's crime becomes particularly relevant both in trying to understand the trajectories of female crime and in developing progressive, sensitive, socially responsible penal policy for female offenders.

The aim of the study is to analyze changes in the interpretation of female criminal behavior and elements of the crime, and also to conduct research about mechanisms and practices of punishment applied to female offenders. The aforementioned researched is based on subjective experiences of the female criminals.

Research on women offenders‘ sentencing patterns and on their experiences of punishment will provide explanation and problematize the tendencies of increasing criminal repression against women and will also reveal changes in the elements of crime. The study will provide a better understanding of the female offenders` needs and, identify opportunities for change in defeminized criminal practices, and formulate a gender-sensitive criminal policy focused on the convicted women`s integration and resocialization.

While seeking to to analyze the penal practices of women offenders and to investigate how convicted women experience, evaluate and execute their sentences, the project objectives will be implemented through an empirical study, which is based on such sources as statistical data about women's criminal behavior and punishment;analysis of criminal practice (sentences released by the court); as well as qualitative research: semi-structured interviews with women on probation and imprisoned female offenders.


The research team of the project consists of: Dr. Artūras Tereškinas (Project leader), Dr. Rūta Vaičiūnienė, Dr. Simonas Nikartas and Liubovė Jarutienė.

Duration of the project: 01/07/2019 - 31/03/2021.

The budget of the project: 145 724 Eur.

The project is funded from the Research Council of Lithuania (LMTLT), agreement No S-MIP-19-39.