TitleSubstance-abusing women offenders as victims
NameSmith, Vivian C. (author), Veysey, Bonita (chair), Christian, Johnna (internal member), Chin, Ko-lin (internal member), Bush-Baskette, Stephanie (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - Newark,
Drug abuse and crime
DescriptionAlarming rates of U.S. women‘s imprisonment for drug-related offenses in the last decade generated increased interest in explanations of women‘s criminal behavior. Previous research on women‘s pathways indicated that gender mattered significantly in shaping how women enter a pattern of law-violating behavior. These studies furthered the women‘s-routes-to-crime premise by proposing typified pathways and linking specific experiences to outcomes such as drug abuse and criminality. Particularly, the role of sexual and/or physical abuse and/or neglect has been highlighted as a key factor in propelling women into a criminal trajectory. This investigation uses a retrospective approach to explore the differing pathway sequences among justice-involved women using childhood victimization, substance use and criminality as key variables. The research draws on Feminist Pathway Theory and Life Course Theory (LCT) to build the current study. The data come from Project WORTH (Women‘s Option for Recovery Treatment and Health). The sample (n=1,209) consists of women in the criminal justice system, classified as substance abusers. Bivariate, logistic, multinomial logistic regression and negative binomial regression were used to explore: (1) the distribution of temporal patterns of women‘s pathways into crime; (2) assess the dominant pathway; (3) examine relationships between common pathways and other risk factors; and (4) assess the relationship between common pathways and frequency of offending. Results indicate that there were eight common pathways. The most dominant pathway to crime among these women is one in which drug use preceded arrest without the presence of childhood abuse (Pathway 1). The second highest populated pathway reflected the feminist pathway theory‘s main premise; childhood victimization triggers drug use and entrance into crime (Pathway 3). Further analyses found that women who with history of familial drug use, parental incarceration, prior foster care and mental health issues were more likely to follow Pathway 3. Lastly, women in Pathway 1 have less frequency of offending. The findings are consistent with prior research suggesting that women‘s paths to crime differ. Results also challenge the position of childhood victimization in women‘s pathways into crime and assert that women victimized during childhood have a greater disadvantage given additional risk factors embedded within that pathway.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Vivian C. Smith
CollectionGraduate School - Newark Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.