Gender biased police misbehaviour. An analysis of deviant police practices and female offenders' experiences in Ecuador (1979-2010)

Type Dissertation Project

Duration April 1, 2014 - Oct. 16, 2019

  • Institute for Gender and Diversity in Organizations IN (Details)


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  • Romo Perez, Andrea Elizabeth (Details) Project Head

Abstract (English)

Police deviance covers all forms of illegal and unethical conduct by police. Previous research has revealed that the occurrence of police criminal and corrupt activities not only destabilizes the police organization’s legitimacy, but also affects that of the State. This qualitative study analyzes in detail the circumstances in which police deviance occurred in Ecuador after the democratic transition (1979-2010), as well as the factors influencing this behaviour. The study also examines the distinct strategies employed by female offenders to resist their victimisation by the police. By taking into consideration the perspectives and experiences of both police officers and female offenders, this study demonstrates that police officers had two main motivations when engaging in this behaviour: extreme pressure faced by the police to produce results against increasing criminality in the country, and the search for individual, group or organizational gain. It also reveals that the tolerance of other criminal justice system officials for police misconduct together with the lack of an institutionalised Public Defense service which would protect offenders’ rights and assist them in their defense, en-couraged this behaviour. Moreover, it was found that women were seen as suitable targets for police abuse during most years of the period examined. Deep-rooted societal prejudices against certain minority women made them even more suitable targets for police deviant actions. As the end of the research period approached, officers began to change their perceptions of female suspects, and be-lieved these became a threat to their careers. The study was based on 51 oral testimonies from fe-male inmates and 50 in-depth interviews with police officers. The qualitative part of the research was complemented by archival information found in court documents and female prisoner’s files produced between 1979 and 2010, as well as by other official and secondary sources.